The landmark railway line, connecting the northeastern region with Bangladesh, will be ready by the end of 2021, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Sunday.
Mr Singh said when the construction of the railway line, between Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura in Bangladesh, will be completed, it will pave the way for running the first train from the northeast to Bangladesh on the eve of the 75th year of India''s independence in 2022.
The landmark railway line between Agartala and Akhaura will be completed before the end of next year, that is 2021, Mr Singh said.
While briefing about some of the upcoming projects in the northeast, Mr Singh, the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), said his ministry will bear the cost of laying 5.46 kms track on the Indian side while the cost of laying 10.6 kms track on the Bangladesh side is being borne by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The railway link will connect Gangasagar in Bangladesh to Nischintapur in India and from Nischintapur to Agartala railway station.
Mr Singh said the process of acquisition of land and handing it over to executing agencies in both the countries has been completed and an amount of Rs 580 crore has been sanctioned for the Indo-Bangladesh railway work on the Indian side.
Quoting engineers and experts, the minister said the soil condition on the Indian side is soft and therefore, the latest technology is being used.
Around 600 skilled workers are working round-the-clock to complete the work.
Referring to the high priority given to the northeastern region by the PM Modi dispensation, Mr Singh said the kind of fast-track progress made in the last five years can be realised from the fact that when this government came in 2014, the rail connectivity was very poor and there were at least two states, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, where people had never seen a train.
Today, he said, there is a regular ''Arunachal Express'' train running from Itanagar to New Delhi and a double-gauge track is being laid all across the region.
The train to Bangladesh will be one of the most glorious achievements of recent years, he said.
The work to extend air connectivity through new airports and surface transport through road networks is also proceeding at an equal pace, he added.