Agartala: Works for laying of 15.054 km railway tracks to connect Agartala and Akhaura in neighbouring Bangladesh would start this year, official sources said on Friday.

"India and Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 21 and it was decided that acquisition of land for first phase of work would be completed in six months," Kishore Ambuly, Transport Secretary of Tripura, said. Ambuly is a member of Project Steering Committee formed with the official representatives from India and Bangladesh.

He went to Dhaka to take part in the meeting and returned from there on Friday. It was decided that both countries would complete works in their side. IRCON, an undertaking of Indian Railway, would work as consultant and External Affairs Ministry of India will bear the cost of the project.

India has sanctioned Rs 2.52 crore for laying the railway tracks. Of the 15.054 km railway track, only 5 km fall in Indian side and the rest is in Bangladesh. The tracks would be laid in meter gauge on broad gauge format so that it could be converted into broad gauge when necessary.

New Delhi is keen to establish the rail link as it would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh. During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi in January 2010, India and Bangladesh had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala.

Meanwhile, Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey said, extension of the railway line from Agartala to Sabroom, about 110 km from here, would be completed by March 2014. Sabroom is also very close to India-Bangladesh border and just about 70 km from Chittagong Port.


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