A new cross-border train route will start between New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri in India and Dhaka in Bangladesh from 26 March, the Independence Day of Bangladesh.

This is the third passenger train service between the neighbouring nations, after Maitree express and Bandhan express.

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The Prime Ministers of both countries will jointly inaugurate the passenger train service, ANI reported quoting officials.

Bilateral talks between the officials of Bangladesh Railway and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) were held on 21 February to chalk out the modalities of the route.

An eight-member delegation of Bangladesh Railway led by Md Shahidul Islam, the divisional railway manager of Paksey railway division of Bangladesh, had reached New Jalpaiguri to meet with divisional railway manager of Katihar division Rabinder Kumar Verma.

Later, they also jointly visited the Haldibari-Chilahati route that resumed after a gap of over 55 years.

“A new passenger bi-weekly train having ten number of coaches will be started from New Jalpaiguri for Dhaka, Bangladesh on 26 March. The train will have 10 coaches. including six two-tier and two AC chair cars,” said Verma.

The Bangladeshi delegation said that the residents of the country have repeatedly raised their demand for communications through roads and railway links with India.

“Bangladesh and India have a very good friendship and relation since the Independence of Bangladesh,” said Shahidul Islam, adding that people’s issues led to a dialogue about the rail route with the Indian government.

He also informed that their government is planning to start railway services with Nepal and Bhutan in near future.

Welcoming the railway initiative, Jayanta Basak, a resident of Siliguri said: “People of Siliguri now have two options to reach Bangladesh via train service.”

At present, there are five rail links between India and Bangladesh. These are Petrapole-Benapole, Gede-Darshana, Singhabad-Rohanpur, Radhikapur-Birol and Haldibari-Chilahati.

The route between Haldibari in Cooch Behar and Chilahati in northern Bangladesh was reopened after 55 years in December. The railway line had been defunct after rail links between India and then East Pakistan had snapped in 1965.

With inputs from agencies.

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