The Planning Commission has sent back the proposal to extend the timeframe of the project to build a broad-gauge railway line between Chilahati Railway Station in Nilphamari and Chilahati border with India.
The project is aimed at expanding trade not only with India but also with Nepal and Bhutan by establishing rail communications.
The railways ministry proposed extending the project time for the second time to December 2022 to construct a station building at Chilahati in line with the station building at Haldibari in the state of West Bengal of India, build two bridges and to link up with other parts of the railways across the border.
Meanwhile, train operations began on this route after 56 years. A train carrying stones set out from the Northern Eastern frontier railway station Damdim on Sunday to Bangladesh, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka. The route will reduce the distance of shipment of goods from India by 150 km.
Built during the British rule, the railway line was snapped after the 1965 Pakistan-India war.
A decision was taken to revive the rail route at the 2015 India-Bangladesh inter-governmental railway meeting in New Delhi.
Following that decision, the government took up the Tk80-crore project to build a broad-gauge rail line between Chilahati station and Chilahati border to establish rail links with India. The project period was from August 2018 to January this year.
Later, the project cost was revised at Tk152 crore, with the time extended until 31 January 2022. Now, the railways ministry wants further extension of the project at an increased cost.
The Planning Commission asked the ministry to submit a revised proposal with suggestions as to how to minimize cost of additional components of the project.
The objective of the project was to build a 6.72 km broad gauge main line and 4 km broad gauge loop line between Chilahati station and the Chilahati border. The project, if implemented, will ease the shipment of goods and travel of passengers via Mongla port in Bangladesh to Northeastern parts of India, to Nepal and Bhutan.
According to a meeting minute, work on one lakh cubic meters of soil was supposed to be done during the feasibility study of the project but work was done on 60,000 cubic meters.
The workload of the sub-base has been reduced by 3,000 cubic meters. Explaining the reduction, the railways ministry said the site had been covered with grass during the feasibility study.
At present, trains are running on Benapole-Petrapole, Darshana-Gede, Rahanpur-Sinhabad and Biral-Radhikapur routes between Bangladesh and India.
The prime ministers of the two neighbouring nations decided to revive all the rail links that had existed between India and the erstwhile East Pakistan. In December last year, both prime ministers jointly inaugurated the rail link.