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Agartala-Akhaura Rail Project cost likely to spike, says Bangladesh Rly delegation
TIWN
Agartala-Akhaura Rail Project cost likely to spike, says Bangladesh Rly delegation
PHOTO : Railway delegates in a meeting with Transport Minister Manik Dey on Wednesday. TIWN Pic June 18

AGARTALA, June 18 (TIWN): Project cost of the Agartala-Akhaura international rail project is likely to escalate by the beginning of the project’s work, Bangladeshi Railway Ministry Joint Secretary Sunil Chandra Paul said here today. Paul, who headed the Bangladesh government delegation at the third project steering committee meeting held here Tuesday, today visited the proposed railway alignment in the Akhaura border.

Speaking to reporters at the civil secretariat later this afternoon, Paul said that there were some disputes with land demarcation and acquisition for the project in the Bangladeshi soil. “There were some issues. These are common issues for land acquisition in all countries. We are working it out and I don’t think they will be any major problem”, he said.

Amzad Hossain, Addl Director General of the Railway Ministry of Bangladesh said that a fund of Rs. 28 million US dollars was initially earmarked for land acquisition, compensation, excavation, track laying and other civil work in the 10 Km segment of Agartala-Akhaura rail project in Bangladesh side. The project cost might spike higher on both sides, he added.

The fourth meeting of the Agartala-Akhaura project steering committee would be held at Dhaka in September this year, the official stated.

Officials of the Indian delegation that attended the PSC meeting at Agartala on Tuesday left for Delhi earlier this morning. The Bangladesh delegation visited the proposed project alignment and met Transport Minister Manik Dey this afternoon prior to their departure from the state.

The Project Steering Committee adopted a series of time bound programmes including a structured Land Acquisition Plan for the project on both sides of the Indo-Bangla border, a detailed project plan etc.

Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the project is expected to be submitted within September this year. Officials announced after conclusion of the PSC meeting here yesterday that work for the project is likely to start on both sides of the border by January, 2015.

IRCON, a central government PSU, was entrusted with the responsibility to handle all operations of construction of the railway lines between Akhaura and Agartala over a distance of 15 Km – a project that would literally change the way bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh are defined today. Sources inside IRCON said that over 4.5 Km land area out of the 5 Km stretch of rail-line required for the project in Tripura sector was demarcated. Acquisition is slated to commence shortly.

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