Agartala-Akhaura Railway Project: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the commencement of work for the Agartala-Akhaura railway project through video conferencing. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb was quoted in an IE report saying that the project is a big step towards the Prime Minister Modi’s goal of developing North-East part of the country into ‘Astalaxmi’ and ‘HIRA’. The CM also said that the Agartala-Akhaura railway project will develop the socio-economic as well as the cultural bond between the two nations.
The railway project connecting Agartala and Akhaura was conceptualized in the year 2010. Later, both the countries, India and Bangladesh signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on a couple of issues including the railway project in 2013. It is expected that the railway line will become operational in the year 2019. The railway project, which is 15.054 km long is being constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 968 crore. The project would provide connectivity between Akhaura in Bangladesh with the capital city of Tripura, Agartala through Nischintapur in the Indo-Bangla border.
Other than this railway project, a bridge is also being built over River Feni which would connect Sabroom in southern Tripura with Feni district of Bangladesh. Once it becomes functional, Tripura would be only 66 km away from Bangladesh’s Chittagong port. With these two big projects, the government of Tripura hopes that the state will turn into ‘gateway for Northeast’.
Earlier, before the February 18 assembly election this year, PM Modi during one of his election campaigns in Tripura announced that if his party is voted to power, the state would be turned into ‘HIRA’, which is the acronym for development in highways, i-ways (internet services), roadways and airways. Also, he announced that all the eight states of the northeast part of the nation would be developed into ‘Astalaxmi’.