While Indian border extends to straight roads in the South to North and western portion of the land, it changes the shape when it comes to east, with Bangladesh settling in do cuddle between the eastern states of India, the transport routes are worked through long routes to not cross borders for the need to travel in East.
Kolkata is one of the sought after tourist point in the Eastern part of the country but it also gets pretty far away from it’s neighbouring states. For someone to travel from Kolkata to Agartala or vice versa currently it takes 31 hours through train because the route is taken through the city of Guwahatti. Taking into consideration all of these ordeals, the government has now sanctioned a plan to built train routes that directly connects Kolkata to Agartala which cuts through the capital city of Bangladesh, Dhaka. The new12.3 KM Akhaura Rail will thus reduce the journey by 21hours and bringing it down to just 10 hours. Between the cities of Kolkata to Agartala this will make for a mere 550 Km distance post the arrival of Akhaura Rail which instead of the old 1600 KM.
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. The present line will go to Akhaura which is linked to Dhaka Chittagong rail route.
“Kolkata is a major destination for people in this area, but as of now there was 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,” Chief engineer of the Rs 570 crore project M S Chauhan said. The line will be operational by 2020, he said. The trains on the line will undergo security check once at Nishchintpur on the Indian side and Gangasagar on the Bangladesh side, sources said.
This line will be instrumental in freight movement as well as goods from the northeastern state can now reach Kolkata in one third the time. Similarly, goods from Chittagong port will reach Agartala quicker. The number of Bangladeshi travellers to India increased from 7.5 lakh in 2015 to 9.33 lakh in 2016. In the first six months of 2017, seven lakh Bangladeshis visited India.