Modi, Hasina, Mamata flag-off Bandhan Express

Casey Dawson
November 10, 2017

Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off a new passenger train "Bandhan Express" from Kolkata Station to Khulna in Bangladesh.

The worldwide 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. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also described it as a historic day for both the countries.

PM Modi said he was happy to launch the important projects to enhance connectivity.

PM Hasina said that Bangladesh wants collaborative engagements with India and other neighbours for regional peace, prosperity and benefit of the people in South Asia.

With the inaugurations of these services, she said, a new door of relationship has been opened up between the two countries, and this will further strengthened in the future. She expressed happiness that the countries recently extended their connectivity to space.

Hasina too expressed hope for more such initiatives for increasing rail link and connectivity between the two countries.

The dignitaries also inaugurated the International Passenger Rail Terminal, End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities (for passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express) at Kolkata station, under the India-Bangladesh Cooperation in Railways.

He said India takes pride in being a "reliable partner" in Bangladesh's development. "Bangladesh-India relations are in fact setting new high standards of bilateral cooperation in the region and beyond", she added.

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She also wished all the success of the Maitree Express and Bandhan Express services.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj joined in from New Delhi, and her Bangladesh counterpart A.H. Mahmood Ali from Dhaka.

She said it was yet another happy occasion in Bangladesh-India relations.

"Whenever we talk about connectivity, I always remember your vision to restore India-Bangladesh rail links that existed before 1965", Modi told Hasina during the video conference.

The construction of the 984-meter long and seven-meter wide Bhairab Railway Bridge started on December 25, 2013 and ended last month, the Daily Star reported.

The bridges will reduce travel time between Dhaka and Chittagong as well as Dhaka and Sylhet and the railways would be able to run the dual gauge and broad gauge trains at 100kph and 120kph speeds respectively.

The train, according to the schedule, would leave Kolkata at 11 a.m. (India time) and reach Khulna in four and half hours.

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