"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accorded priority to the development of the north-eastern region and taking the rails to hilly areas is a major challenge for us,” he added.

"The capitals of the Northeastern states would be connected by rails by 2020 and this capital city (Agartala) would be on the country's broad gauge railway map by March this year," the Minister said here.

Sinha today received the first broad gauge trial train here in the presence of state PWD Minister Badal Chowdhury and Transport Minister Manik Dey. He said the construction of 15 km-long railway track to connect Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh "is a top priority". The project is funded by the Government of India for connecting Tripura and West Bengal via Bangladesh, he said.

The process of acquiring land in Bangladesh was complete and in India, it would start soon, he said adding a 3.7 km-long railway track on Indian side would be a viaduct (through an elevated corridor) to reduce the cost of acquisition of land.

Laying of railway line from Agartala to Sabroom in South Tripura district bordering Bangladesh would be completed by 2018, he said. To a question, the Union Minister said Tripura's demands for setting up a railway division and a railway recruitment board here are genuine but decision on it cannot be taken in a hurry.

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