Why in news?
=>Indian Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Chief Minister of West Bengal and the Chief Minister of Tripura jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh, via video conference.
=>During Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015, it had been decided to supply an additional 500 MW power to Bangladesh. This is being done using the transmission link between West Bengal and Bangladesh. With the completion of this project, 1.16 Gigawatts of power is now being supplied from India to Bangladesh.
=>The Akhaura-Agartala rail connectivity will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between the two countries.
500 MW additional power:
=>Currently, India exports 660MW of power to Bangladesh, 500MW of which are transferred through the Baharampur-Bheramara connection and 160MW through Tripura to the Cumilla power grid.
=>The Kulaura-Shahbajpur section rehabilitation project would restore train link between Bangladesh and India as a part of Trans-Asian Railway Network.
=>Under the project, about 53 kilometres of duel gauge rail lines, bridges and culverts, stations and infrastructure would be constructed and non-interlocked colour light signaling system will be set up.
Akhaura – Agartala Rail Link:
=>Adventz Group’s Texmaco Rail & Engineering Limited has bagged the Rs 200 crore project to construct the 45-km dual gauge line between Agartala in Tripura and Akhaura, a sub-district of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
=>Part of India’s $4.5 billion third line of credit extended to Bangladesh for its infrastructure and social sector development, the AgartalaAkhaura rail project will lend full connectivity from east to west of Bangladesh, apart from enabling trade relations between the two neighbours.
=>Once completed, the railway link is expected to cut the distance between Agartala and Kolkata by more than 1,000 km.
=>In addition, it will also enhance India’s access to Chittagong port, considered to the heart of Bangladesh economy.
=>The rail link will not only boost bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries, but will also affect ‘transformation through transportation’. For Tripura, the railway line will mean enhancing regional access in ways other than by air or the states national highway, NH44.
=>It is a major step towards PM Modi’s goal of developing North-East India into ‘Astalaxmi’ and ‘HIRA’. During one of his election campaigns in Tripura before the February 18 assembly election, PM Modi had said if his party is voted to power, Tripura would be turned into ‘HIRA’, which is acronym for development in highways, i-ways or Internet services, roadways and airways. Referring to eight states of the northeast, he had said the region would be developed into ‘Astalaxmi’.
=>Apart from Agartala-Akhaura rail project, a bridge is being constructed over River Feni which would connect Sabroom in south Tripura with Feni district of Bangladesh. Once operational, Tripura would be only 66 km away from Chittagong port in Bangladesh.
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