Beginning a new chapter in the history of rail connectivity in north-eastern region of the country, the Hon’ble Union Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today flagged off the first B.G. weekly express passenger train from Agartala-New Delhi-Agartala Tripura Sundari Express and together with the Hon’ble Minister of Railways of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Md. Mazibul Hoque, laid the Foundation stone of the 15.06 km Agartala – Akhaura B. G. Rail Link between India and Bangladesh amid the cheers from a huge gathering at Agartala Railway Station today.
His Excellency, the Governor of Tripura, Shri Tathagata Roy, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Railways, Shri Rajen Gohain, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tripura Shri Manik Sarkar, General Manager of N. F. Railway Shri Chahatey Ram, General Manager of N. F. Railway Construction Organization Shri H. K. Jaggi, Senior Railway officials and Senior State Government officials of Tripura and thousands of people were present in the function held at the Agartala railway station.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Railways said that the Railway’s capital investment in northeastern region has consistently been increased and next year approximately Rs. 7000 crore will be allocated for developmental projects in the region. He said, Railway’s initiatives for better connectivity of the region will result in all-round development in North-east and gradually the region will have highest per capita income in the country.
Shri Prabhu said, Indian Railways is exploring ways and means to bring in more investment beyond the budget provisions. Elaborating on the progress made in laying new broad gauge line in the country, he said that soon Railways would be able to lay 11 km of new railway line per day instead of the current 4 km a day.
Keping in view of the aspirations of the people of the state, a train service between Agartala and Kolkata would be started soon, he said and assured that more passenger services from Agartala would be introduced in a phased manner.
While lauding the Bangladesh government for the cooperation and help rendered in establishing rail link with the country, Shri Prabhu said more options for inter-connectivity with the country would be explored.
Referring to the problem of land acquisition for railway projects as people are generally reluctant to part with land, he said that the Agartala – Akhaura B. G. Rail Link has been planned to be an elevated line so that minimum land acquisition has to be done.
He also said that the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) would be advised to explore possibility of developing tourist packages including northeast and Bangladesh so that more and more people can get connected to the region. Acknowledging the current fuel crisis in the state because of poor road connectivity, the Minister said that he had instructed concerned officials to take steps for bringing in more fuel through railways. He said, trains carrying fuel like the ones carrying water to Latur will help the state tide over the present crisis.