National, Front Page

Proposed reinstatement of Feni-Belonia rail line

Bilateral trade to get a boost


Published : 06 Sep 2021 10:07 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2021 12:54 AM

The authorities concerned of India and Bangladesh are working to reestablish a new railway connection from Belonia in the southern district of Tripura through Feni in Bangladesh. 

As soon as the railway is built, direct freight trains will start plying in North-East India from Bangladesh. 

This will reduce time and cost to transport goods between both countries.

An agreement was signed earlier in 2019 to renovate the railway, funded by the Indian government, to transport goods and cargo to the Indian states of Tripura and Assam using the Chittagong seaport in Bangladesh.

Railway Adviser of the High Commission of India Anita Barik in a recent seminar held at the Indian Embassy in Dhaka, presented a paper on 'India-Bangladesh Railway Cooperation'. 

She said, "Reestablishing the Feni-Belonia rail line will be a tremendous freight rail line, which will increase connectivity between Tripura and Chattogram Port via Feni. Besides constructing the rail line, quality infrastructure on the both sides of the port will help to increase businesses several fold". 

"Feasibility study on Feni-Belonia has already been complete. Rehabilitation of this route will be a win-win situation both for India and Bangladesh," she added. 

"Apart from this establishing other rail lines between India and Bangladesh will also help increase trade and business with Nepal and Bhutan too," she hoped.   

In her speech, Anita Barik suggested using railway freight to reduce transport cost from India as well as India is helping Bangladesh to develop rail connectivity with Bangladesh to reduce trade gap between two countries.

She reminded previous rail connectivity between Bangladesh and India that has been suspended during Indo-Pakistan war in 1965.

"We are emphasizing to reconnecting all previous alignments between two countries to make cheaper the bilateral trade," she noted. 

It was learned that the North-East Frontiers Railway (NFR) has already completed a land survey on the north-eastern border. During the construction of the railway line from Agartala to the Akhaura railway station in Bangladesh, a survey of the land for the connection of the railway line from Belonia to Feni in Bangladesh was carried out. 

In case of this rail connection, the distance of the railway from Belonia railway station to the Indian border will be 2.9 km. 

The Feni-Belonia rail link was closed in 1996 on the pretext of losses. Eight railway stations from Feni to Belonia have been demolished and turned into haunted houses due to 21 years of operation closure. The furniture and doors and windows of these stations have been looted. The existence of the railway line has been ruined due to the theft of slippers in many parts of the 24 km long railway line. 

Businessmen informed that, Parshuram has the land port of Belonia in the Belonia part of the Indo-Bangladesh border. 

Various items are being exported regularly through this port. The reopening of the Feni-Belonia railway will increase the transport facilities as well as increase Bangladesh's bilateral trade with India's Tripura. 

Businessmen of the two countries would benefit from this.

On condition not to be named, a railway official of Bangladesh Railway told this correspondent, “The process of constructing the rail line is progressing too slowly. The distance of Feni railway station from the border of India and Bangladesh is 27 kilometers. The Bangladesh Railway Authority has already surveyed the land in Bangladesh. By now the survey report may have sent to the Railway Board by the Ministry of External Affairs of India for final approval. With the approval of the new railway, it will be the second international railway between Tripura and Bangladesh.”

 

Ainul Kabir Shamim, former president of the Feni Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said, “There is a land port in Belonia on the Indo-Bangladesh border in Parshuram. Various items are also being exported regularly through this port. Reopening of the Feni-Belonia railway will increase the transport facilities as well as increase Bangladesh’s bilateral trade with India’s Tripura. Businessmen of the two countries would benefit from this.”