According to the Indo-Asia News Service, the Tripura state government has been granted Rs 5.8bn for construction and land acquisition on the 5km Indian section of the line, while India's Ministry of External Affairs will provide Rs 4bn for the Bangladeshi stretch.

At present the region's only rail link to the rest of India is via a circuitous route north of Bangladesh through the states of Sikkim and Assam. The new line would reduce the distance by rail between Agartala and Kolkata from around 1650km to 515km.

The project was discussed by Indian prime minister Mr Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Mrs Sheikh Hasina during Modi's visit to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka last month.