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Monday, June 22, 2015, Ashar 8, 1422 BS, Ramadan 4, 1436 Hijr

Move to expedite BD-India railway project
Saleem Samad
Published : Monday, 22 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 162
Senior Indian railway officials are planning to meet in Dhaka to expedite Bangladesh-India railway project, dubbed 'dream railway".
Indian railways ministry has decided to send a high-level team to expedite the process soon for the Gangasagar-Agartala railway extension project, which will be a landmark connectivity with Northeast India.
The decision of sending the Indian Railway Ministry delegation to gather first-hand knowledge of the ground regarding the proposed rail project. It has received a renewed momentum after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka when several agreements for connectivity by train, land and waterways were signed.
National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, an official policy think-tank of Indian government, held a meeting at New Delhi on June 18 to review the progress of "dream railway", as coined by Narendra Modi.
NITI Aayog in the meeting expressed the hope for implementation of the railway extension project from Agartala to Gangasagar. The meeting set a new deadline of 2017.
The meeting also urged the Union Transport Secretary Samarjit Bhowmik to expedite the railway project to ensure the implementation of the "dream railway".
It was finalised when former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka in 2011. As part of follow-up action, three meetings were held to implement the railway extension project.
Delhi decided a new deadline for completion of the Agartala-Gangasagar railway. The 5- km Indo-Bangladesh rail link would be commissioned by 2017.
However, Delhi has yet to clarify when the work for the "dream railway" extension work will begin.
India would build proposed 5km rail track on Indian side up to Gangasagar, while the rest of the track would be built by Bangladesh railway authority.
The new rail route would reduce the estimated expenditure for land acquisition to connect Agartala railway station with Gangasagar railway station, instead of Akhaura railway station.
This will reduce the construction budget, especially land acquisition for laying the tracks, a senior Bangladesh railway officer said on Sunday.
India has estimated Rs 302 crore would be required to acquire land for the 5 km railway track on Indian side. Of the total five km, 2.5-km rail link would be overhead while remaining part would be laid on the land, which will reduce hassles for land acquisition.

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