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PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina Jointly Inaugurate Key Rail Link, 2 Other Projects

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AGARTALA, Nov 1: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday jointly inaugurated three projects via virtual mode, including a key rail link between Tripura’s Nischintapur and Gangasagar in the neighbouring country.

The other two projects inaugurated by Modi and Hasina are the 65-km Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line, and Unit 2 of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant in Bangladesh’s Rampal.

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The cross-border rail project near Tripura’s capital Agartala and Akhaura in Bangladesh is expected to boost cross-border trade, and significantly reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka.

Modi said inauguration of the Agartala-Akhaura Cross Border Rail Link was a “historic” moment. “This is the first rail link between the northeast and Bangladesh,” he said.

All the three projects are India-assisted development initiatives.

The trial run of the 12.24-km rail project (6.78 km dual gauge line in Bangladesh and 5.46 km in Tripura) was completed on Monday, after a train from Gangasagar railway station in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh arrived at Nischintapur railway station.

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“It is a matter of joy that we have connected once again to celebrate the success of the India-Bangladesh cooperation. In the past nine years, the work we have done together has not happened in decades,” Modi said in an interaction with Hasina over video-conferencing.

Hasina said the three projects would further strengthen the infrastructure development collaboration between the two countries.

“The joint inauguration of these important projects shows that we have a strong bond of friendship and collaboration… I also thank PM Modi for the warm hospitality during my visit in September for the G20 Summit,” she said.

“I think it is an instance for the world. We have proved that good relations with the neighbour accelerate the country’s development. It is a demonstration of having rare friendly relations and mutual cooperation. Bangladesh and India will attain many successes in the days to come through mutual cooperation, which will strengthen the relationship between the two countries,” Hasina said.

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She also said that mutual efforts have helped ensure peace and stability in the northeast region of India, and establish connectivity between many Indian states with its northeast part through Chattogram and Mongla Ports.

India had extended Rs 392.52 crore as grant assistance to Bangladesh for the Agartala-Akhaura Cross Border Rail Link, officials said.

Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha said the rail project would enable the state to become the gateway to other northeastern states for trade, connectivity and tourism, and reduce the distance between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka from 1,600 km to 500 km.

As part of the Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line, a 65-km broad gauge route was constructed between Bangladesh’s Mongla Port and the existing rail network in Khulna.

The Khulna–Mongla rail link line will help operate trains from Mongla to some of the western destinations of Bangladesh Railways and also to Dhaka via Khulna and Padma Bridge.

The 1,320-MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project was implemented by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between India’s NTPC and the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

The plant is located at Rampal in Khulna division of Bangladesh. (PTI)

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