After decades of discontinuation, railway lines between India and Bangladesh are all set to be revived
After the partition of the country in 1947 and Indo-Pak wars in 1965 and 1971, the railway lines between India and Bangladesh were discontinued. The tracks were abandoned after India converted the meter gauge lines to broad gauge. But now, the tracks that survived the partition and wars are set to be revived.
This is with a view to improving people-to-people contact and boosting bilateral trade, said Bangladesh railways minister Mohammad Mazibul Hoque.
Bangladesh’s railway minister Mujibul Haque Mujib announced on his visit to Agartala for a two-day program called Setubandhan or bridge of bonding, that the country would restore railway lines at 12 places between the two countries which were discontinued after the partition and wars.
Tripura and Assam were once connected to Bangladesh through other rail lines (Belonia-Feni, Karimganj-Chittagong, Mahishasan-Chittagong, Khowai-Akhaura via Balla, and Amarpur to Bhairab Bazaar), but lost connectivity following the partition and wars. Out of the 12 historic railway links, land acquisition for the one, linking Agartala to Akhaura in Bangladesh on the Indian side has been completed successfully. This project is estimated to be completed at a cost Rs 967.5 crore and scheduled to be completed by December next year.
The Agartala-Akhaura line is the outcome of an agreement between New Delhi and Dhaka in 2013. The track is envisaged to be the part of the Trans-Asian Railway between Istanbul and Singapore via Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This railway line would facilitate carriage of goods to and from both the countries and greatly benefit India’s land-locked northeastern states. One of the best outcome would be that the journey time between Agartala and Kolkata via Bangladesh, would be reduced by a third, from 1,613km through mountainous terrain to a mere 514 km.