State transport minister Pranajit Singha Roy said on Wednesday that Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb urged the centre to connect the state with Myanmar via Mizoram as part of an ambitious trans-Asian railway network under the Act East Policy.
On February 16, the chief minister wrote to the railway minister, requesting that Tripura be connected to trans-Asian countries from Jawahar Nagar in Dhalai district to Darlawn in Mizoram and Kalay in Myanmar, according to the minister.
The Tripura government, according to Roy, submitted a proposal to the “North East Region Vision 2035” in June 2020 to convert all railway tracks to double lines and expand the state’s train fleet.
The survey work on three new railway projects, including the Belonia (India)-Feni (Bangladesh) railway (approximately 30 km), the Dharmanagar-Pancharathal-Kailashahar (North Tripura) railway (41.75 km), and the connecting Dharmanagar-Belonia (South district) via Kailashahar-Kamalpur-Khowai-Mohanpur (West Tripura) and Agartala.
Work on the Nishchintapur rail yard, which will connect Akhaura in Bangladesh, is 98 per cent complete, according to the minister, while the Sabroom (South district) rail yard is 75 per cent complete.
The two train yard projects are expected to be completed within the next fiscal year, he said, altering the state’s economic climate.
Meanwhile, the Tripura government has proposed two additional express trains between Agartala and Mumbai and Agartala and Guwahati that will run at least four times a week.
Trans- Asian Railway Network
The Trans-Asian Railway Network is a regional transportation cooperation platform aimed at improving Asia’s railway infrastructure efficiency and development. It is part of ESCAP’s overall goal to see the region develop an international, integrated, intermodal transportation and logistics system, with major components being the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, as well as international dry ports.
The Trans-Asian Railway Network now has 125,500 kilometres of railway lines serving 28 member countries.
Although the idea of connecting the region’s railway networks with the Middle Eastern and European systems was first expressed in 1960, it was followed by discussions and negotiations among member states, culminating in the Commission’s adoption of an Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network at its 62nd session in April 2006.
Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network
The agreement was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). It was created with the goal of promoting and developing international rail transport in Asia and neighbouring regions.
The agreement lays out the groundwork for the creation of a Trans-Asian railway network of internationally significant railway lines. The agreement establishes standards to be considered in the modernization and construction of international railway lines, including capacity, vehicle loading gauge, interoperability, and container terminals. Moreover, it went into effect on June 11, 2009.