India plans rail link to Bhutan

After resuming train operations to Nepal, the government now is expediting the plan to provide rail connectivity to Bhutan, which at present does not have a railway network. The railway ministry has asked the Northeast Frontier Railway to carry out preliminary engineering and traffic survey of the Kokrajhar-Gelephu line. Sources said the survey will be taken up on priority and the 57.5-km project may require an investment of around Rs 1,000 crore. While the stretch falling in the India portion is mostly plain terrain, the stretch in Bhutan passes through hilly areas. The railway corridors in Bhutan would be broad gauge, as it is in India.

India has extended its rail link with Bangladesh and Nepal in recent years to boost people to people contact. In 2005, Bhutan and India signed an MoU for rail connectivity.

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