India will extend its railway network to two more places along the India-Bangladesh border to improve connectivity between the two countries, a railway official announced on Thursday.
The two places are Sabroom in southern Tripura, 135 km from Agartala, and Akhaurah in western Tripura, just 6 km from the Agartala railway station - the newest station of the Indian railways, coming on the country's rail map in October 2008.
Bangladesh operates regular train services on its side up to Akhaurah and various other places, just opposite several sub-divisional towns in Tripura.
"A team of officials of IRCON (Indian Railway Construction Company) have recently visited Dhaka and held talks with Bangladesh government and railway ministry officials to finalise alignment of the 13-km Agartala-Akhaurah connecting rail line," Northeast Frontier Railway additional general manager Vipin Jha told reporters.
Of the 13-km proposed link railway line to connect with the Bangladesh railway network through Akhaurah railway station, 5.4 km falls in Indian territory and the remaining portion in Bangladesh.
"After approval of the alignment, the railway ministry would sanction the project," Jha said, adding that the two countries had already agreed to connect Agartala-Akhaurah by railway line, for which a survey had been completed in 1999.
The construction of the proposed Akhaurah-Agartala railway link, financed by India, was agreed during the three-day visit to India by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in January this year.
India and Bangladesh had resumed regular train services in April 2008 - after 43 years - through Gede in West Bengal's Nadia district and Darshana in Bangladesh. The rail journey between Kolkata and Dhaka covers a distance of 406 km.
The service was suspended after the 1965 war between India and Pakistan when Bangladesh was then Pakistan's eastern wing.
Jha said the ongoing works of railway connection upto Sabroom would be completed by March 2014. The proposed railway station would be just 75 km away from the Chittagong international port in southeast Bangladesh.
He said that the broad gauge line, works for which are now on, would reach south Tripura's district headquarter Udaipur by December 2012.
According to the NFR officials, 58 percent of the conversion work from metre gauge to broad gauge from Assam's Lumding to northern Tripura's Kumarghat have been completed. Over Rs.2,000 crore has already been spent for the purpose.