Easterntimes, Special Correspondent, Dhaka, 21 October: Bangladesh and India are planning to introduce passenger train on Dhaka-Siliguri route from March next year as restoration of Chilahati-Haldibari rail link will be completed by December this year.
Prime ministers of both countries will inaugurate the inter-country rail communication via Chilahati-Haldibari border in December, marking Victory Day of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Railways Ministry Wednesday gave the information through a press release after newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami made a courtesy call to Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan at the minister’s office in Dhaka’s Rail Bhaban.
Bangladesh Railway is implementing a project titled “Construction of Broad Gauge Rail Line between Chilahati and Chilahati Border for Connectivity with India” at the cost of around Tk 80 crore, in between August 2018 and January 2021.
Infrastructure work of the Indian side is complete, according to a report of Times of India online on September 19. There were eight railways interchange between Bangladesh and India, of which four are now in operation.
Citing the meeting, Railways Ministry’s press release said freight trains would be operated first through the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link and there is a plan to start operation of a passenger train between Dhaka and Siliguri marking Independence Day (March 26) of Bangladesh.
Currently, passenger trains are operated on Dhaka-Kolkata and Khulna-Kolkata routes, which remained suspended since March due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister and the high commissioner also discussed the railway projects, which are being implemented under Indian line of credit. BR is now implementing six projects under line of credit while another project with Indian grants.
Indian High Commissioner has expressed his country’s interest in developing Bangladesh Railway’s catering services and training academy. Railways Minister sought Indian cooperation so that BR officials can have training in India.
Railways Ministry’s Secretary Salim Reza and BR’s Director General Md Shamsuzzaman were present during the meeting.