A six-member delegation of the MEA Tuesday visited the Agartala-Akhaura railway site in the Indian side and left for neighbouring Bangladesh for a field visit there, official sources said.
A 15.054 km-long railway line connecting Agartala with Akhaura in Bangladesh will connect Indian Railways with Bangladesh Railways for improved connectivity and boost trade between the two countries and will connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh, the officials said.
The team will hold a meeting with the officials of Bangladesh Railways at Akhura, they said.
Of the total stretch, five km will be on the Indian side and the rest in Bangladesh and is scheduled to be completed by 2020, they said.
The new Akhaura rail line will reduce journey time between Agartala and Kolkata to 10 hours from 31 hours as the distance between the two places will be reduced to 550 km from 1600 km at present.
It will cut through Dhaka instead of Guwahati and will help in freight movement as well as goods from the northeastern state, while goods from Chittagong port will reach Agartala quicker.
"Kolkata is a major destination for people in this area, but there is no direct connectivity to the city. The line will help not only people from Agartala but also those from Mizoram which is 150 km away," NF Railway sources said.
Akhaura is linked to Dhaka-Chittagong rail route.
The total project cost of Rs 972.52 crore is being borne by the Government of India with the Indian side being funded by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), while the MEA is financing it for the Bangladesh side, the officials said.
India and Bangladesh currently have four operational rail links between West Bengal and western Bangladesh - Petrapole-Benapole, Gede-Darshana, Radhikapur-Biral and Singhabad-Rohanpur.
Radhikapur-Biral and Singhabad-Rohanpur are also notified for use of Nepalese transit traffic.
North East Frontier Railway deputy chief engineer, Rakesh Kumar told newsmen that the team is headed by joint secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Namghya Khmapa and a presentation was made before it by the Indian Railway Construction Company Limited (IRCON) about the progress of the construction of the railway line.
The other members of the team are Anita Barik, Railway Advisor, Mamta Shankar, Economic Advisor DoNER, Navin Kumar, Advisor of DoNER and SP Singh, Chief Engineer, NF Railway.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)