Why is it in the news?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated Agartala-Akhaura railway link connecting Northeast India with Bangladesh.
- The project is expected to boost tourism, trade, and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
About the Project:
- It is a 12.24-km Agartala-Akhaura railway line with 5.46 km in Tripura (India) and 6.78 km in the Akhaura upa-zilla (Bangladesh).
- The final project cost is estimated at Rs 1255.10 crore, with Rs 862.58 crore allocated for works on the Indian side alone.
- The Agartala-Akhaura project will cut down the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata too, from 31 hours to 10 hours.
- The entire project cost is being funded by India. The Ministry for Development of North East Region (DoNER) funded the work on the Indian side, and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) funded the expense for the Bangladesh side as ‘Aid to Bangladesh’.
Project’s Significance to Tripura:
- It boosts connectivity for the land-locked Tripura.
- Tripura may become the tourism gateway between India and Bangladesh as travel between Agartala and Kolkata reduced from 1600 km to 500 km.
Other India-Bangladesh Train Services:
- Bandhan Express: Between Kolkata (India) and Khulna (Bangladesh); Revived an old route (Barisal Express) closed since the 1965 war.
- Maitree Express: Connects Kolkata (India) and Dhaka Cantonment (Bangladesh); Started in April 2008.
- Mitali Express: Connects Siliguri (India) with Dhaka (Bangladesh); Announced in March 2021 by PM Modi during his visit to Dhaka.