Bangladesh and India are planning to introduce a passenger train service on Dhaka-Siliguri route from March next year as the work for restoration of Chilahati-Haldibari rail link is to be completed by this year.
The prime ministers of both the countries will jointly inaugurate the inter-country rail communication via Chilahati-Haldibari border in December, marking the Victory Day of Bangladesh, said a press release of the railways ministry yesterday.
The release was issued after newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Doraiswami made a courtesy call on Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan at the latter's office at Rail Bhaban in the capital.
Bangladesh Railway is implementing a project titled "Construction of Broad Gauge Rail Line between Chilahati and Chilahati Border for Connectivity with India" at a cost of around Tk 80 crore.
The infrastructure works in the Indian side is complete, according to a report of Times of India online run on September 19. Before the 1965 India-Pakistan war, there were eight railways links between Bangladesh and India, of which four are now in operation.
The 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 the Independence Day (March 26) of Bangladesh next year.
Currently, passenger trains are being operated on Dhaka-Kolkata and Khulna-Kolkata routes, which remain suspended since March due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister and the high commissioner also discussed railway projects, which are being implemented under Indian Lines of Credits. The BR is now implementing six projects under LoCs while another project with Indian grants.
The Indian envoy has expressed his country's interest in developing Bangladesh Railway's catering services and training academy. The railways minister sought India's cooperation so that BR officials can receive training in India.
Railways Ministry Secretary Salim Reza and BR Director General Md Shamsuzzaman were present at the meeting.