Hasina, Modi flag off Khulna-Kolkata train services

  • Hasina, Modi flag off Khulna-Kolkata train services

Hasina, Modi flag off Khulna-Kolkata train services

Taking their close ties and connectivity links further, India and Bangladesh on Thursday opened a new rail line between Kolkata and Khulna with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly flagging-off the "Bandhan Express" via video-conferencing.

Both the leaders were joined by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Kolkata. "Being a trusted partner in Bangladesh's development works is a matter of pride for India", Modi said.

Named "Bandhan Express", the new train will operate on the Khulna-Kolkata route with a aim to facilitate travelling between the two neighbouring countries. "This train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border", Sheikh Hasina said.

The train will halt at two intermediate stations, Petrapole (India) and Benepole (Bangladesh), with a stoppage time 10 and 15 minutes, respectively.

"There should be enhanced people to people connectivity", he said. The two sides had chose to revive pre-1965 rail links between the two countries (when they were one).

The Maitree Express between Dhaka and Kolkata, which has been running since 2008, is popular.

"Whenever we talk of connectivity, I am always reminded of the vision to revive the pre-1965 connectivity". Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to speak in Bengali.

The global rail Ppassenger terminus at Chitpur in Kolkata will make it possible for Indian passengers traveling to Dhaka or Khulna in Bangladesh by Maitree Express or the newly launched Bandhan Express to get immigration clearance before boarding the trains.

Modi and Hasina also inaugurated the rail bridge built on Bhairab and Titas rivers of Bangladesh with financial assistance from India. He said, " Aaj ei shubho uplokkhe dui desh bashider amar abhinandan janai.

The PM said these initiatives along with a new International Passenger Terminal at Chitpur, Kolkata would facilitate comfortable journey between Dhaka-Kolkata and Khulna-Kolkata.

Indian external affairs minister also joined the videoconference yesterday.

The bridge over the Titas was built by Indian company Gammon-Flcl Consortium. It will immensely cut travel time between Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong and Sylhet. The train reached Benapole at 1:30pm.

The train would be open to passengers from November 16.

The Bandhan Express is scheduled to ply the route every Thursday.