Recently, a Agartala-Akhaura rail link project connecting Northeast India with Bangladesh was virtually inaugurated.
About Agartala-Akhaura rail link project
- The Agartala-Akhaura project will cut down the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata too, from 31 hours to 10 hours.
- The project is expected to boost tourism, trade, and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
What is the project?
- In the 12.24-km Agartala-Akhaura railway line, 5.46 kilometres lie on the Indian side in Tripura, and 6.78 km in the Akhaura upa-zilla in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh.
- The train will start from Agartala and move to Nischintapur, on the Indian-Bangladesh border, where the immigration checks will be held.
- The first station on the Bangladesh side will be Gangasagar.
- The trial run of a goods train was held on the route on Monday.
Why is the project important to Tripura?
- For land-locked Tripura, any connectivity project is of great practical significance.
- The project was crucial for connectivity in the NE region and would make Tripura the gateway for tourism.
- This day will go down in golden letters in the history of Indo-Bangla relationship.
- Tripura is going to be the gateway for tourism and transport between India and Bangladesh.
- Due to the Agartala-Akhaura railway project, the distance between Agartala and Kolkata will be effectively reduced from 1600 km to 500 km.
- However, connectivity with Bangladesh also holds emotional significance.
- Tripura shares an 856-km international border with Bangladesh, the second highest after West Bengal.
- The North Eastern state is surrounded by the country on all three sides except Assam on the fourth.
- During the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war and the creation of Bangladesh, Tripura, a state which then had only 14 lakh people, sheltered nearly 15 lakh East Pakistani refugees.
- It ran at least 8 major muktijoddha (liberation warrior) training camps.
- With the new connectivity project, people on both sides can now hope for closer and smoother ties.
What other trains run between India and Bangladesh?
- The latest train service is part of an ongoing effort to boost connectivity between India and Bangladesh over the past few years.
- Three trains, the Bandhan Express, the Maitree Express and the Mitali Express, run between West Bengal and Bangladesh.
- The Bandhan Express reboots an old rail link between Kolkata and Khulna, the third-largest city of Bangladesh.
- Until the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, this route was served by the Barisal Express.
- The Bandhan uses the Petrapole-Benapole border crossing.
- The Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment started in April 2008.
- The Mitali Express, announced by PM Modi during his visit to Dhaka in March 2021, connects Siliguri in North Bengal with the Bangladesh capital.
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