Rajshahi-Kolkata: New passenger train service on the cards
Railway authorities of Bangladesh and India will work together to assess viability of operating a passenger railway service on the Rajshahi-Kolkata route.
The development came after Riva Ganguly Das, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, held a meeting with Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan at the latter’s office in the capital’s Rail Bhaban.
Riva Ganguly raised the issue of the Rajshahi-Kolkata rail route via Malda of West Bengal, and the meeting decided to carry out a feasibility study on the route, Railways Secretary Mofazzel Hossain said.
“The final decision about the route would be taken after necessary study,” Mofazzel, who was present at the meeting, told this correspondent.
There is an existing rail link between Bangladesh and India’s Rohonpur through Chapainawabganj via Malda, to reach Howrah station. Freight trains are already using this route.
Earlier in July 2017, Fazle Hossain, a member of parliament from Rajshahi-2 constituency from Workers Party, had sent the proposal to the Indian government through the office of Assistant High Commissioner of India in Rajshahi.
Two passenger trains are currently being operated between the neighbouring countries. The operation of Dhaka-Kolkata train service resumed on April 14, 2008,
ending the 43-year pause on the route, as two passenger trains named Maitree Express started simultaneously from Dhaka and Kolkata. Bandhan Express was launched on Khulna-Kolkata route on November 16, 2017.
The meeting also discussed ongoing projects under Indian Line of Credit (LOC) and the issues that both countries came to an understanding during the rail minister’s India visit in August, said a ministry press release.
Three projects are going on under the Indian LOC: construction of Khulna-Mongla rail line, construction of 3rd and 4th dual-gauge line on Dhaka-Tongi, and dual-gauge double line on Dhaka-Joydevpur section and modernisation of Pahartoli workshop.
The two sides also decided to hold a separate meeting for quick disposal of some allegations brought against Indian contractors and consultants, the press release said.
The Bangladesh side also requested the Indian high commissioner to ensure quality of project works, it added.
About the Indian proposal of setting up a “small” Inland Container Depot, on the west bank of Jamuna, the meeting was told that the ICD would be constructed at Sirajganj Bazar.
The site has been visited by officials concerned, and a structure would be set up in consultation with both sides.
The meeting also decided to bring 20 locomotives as soon as possible from India, after the visit of a technical team and settling conditions.
Bangladesh Railway’s Director General Md Shamsuzzaman, was present at the meeting, among others.