Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Thursday expressed his disappointment over the slow progress in the construction work of the 14.26km dual-gauge Akhaura-Agartala rail link.
The minister also ordered the contractor to complete the work by December this year.
Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami and the high officials of Bangladesh Railway were also present there.
Sujan said, "The work is supposed to end in June this year but the reality is it cannot be completed in the stipulated time. The contractor said he would complete the installation of the rail track by June. We will be happy if they can complete the construction of work of stations and signals by December."
Issuing a note of warning to the contractor, he said, "Another firm may be given the work if the contractor fails to complete it within the stipulated time."
He also said, "It’s an important project for both countries, which are unhappy with the progress. I’m not sure the contractor will be able to complete the work. The firm is saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the delay."
When asked about the obstruction by BSF in construction work at Kasba and Mandabag stations, he said, "Bangladesh and India are friendly countries. If there is any minor issue, we will solve it through discussion. It is not a major obstacle."
Later, the minister visited the Akhaura-Laksam double rail line project site.
Bangladesh and India agreed to build the Akhaura-Agartala rail link during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January 2010.
Bangladesh government approved the project in August 2016 to improve rail connectivity and boost trade between Bangladesh and India.
India will spend 2.51 billion rupees on the 14-kilometre rail link. After completion of the project, the Indian state of Tripura will be connected with Akhaura in Bangladesh with direct rail links.
The successful completion of the project will make shipments of goods between the eastern and western parts of India faster.