Jan 16, 2012

Bangladesh to open new raillink to Bhutan, Nepal

Dhaka(SANA)Bangladesh has decided to open Chilahati-Haldibari rail link latest by December 2012 for easier connectivity with Bhutan and Nepal through India. This route is likely to be the fifth route agreed upon as transit points between these two countries.
According to a Railway Board official, Hashimara station in India is hardly 182-km away from Bangladesh’s Chilahati station. Incidentally, Hashimara station is located on Bhutan border as well. Passengers can reach Hashimara in about three hours through the proposed Chilahati-Haldibari route, he said. According to him, Jogbani station in India is located only 40-km away from Haldibari and about 52-km away from Bangladesh’s Chilahati. The proposed rail link could facilitate passengers from Jogbani bordering Nepal to pass through New Jalpaiguri and Katihar route as well, he said.
Incidentally, the two countries already have four other railway transit points between them: Rahanpur (Chapainawabganj)-Singhabad, Birol (Dinajpur)-Radhikapur, Darsana (Kushtia)-Gede and Kulaura (Moulvibazar)-Mahishashan.
The opening of the rail link between Chilahati and Haldibari will be a revival of old rail link which was operational till 1965, sources said and added the transit route connecting India and Bangladesh was abandoned following the Indo-Pak war in 1965. According to the Board official, railway ministry has asked the Bangladesh rail authority to provide a detailed plan so that the new rail link could be thrown open in the larger interest of people of both the countries. Railways has also sought the time frame in which Bangladesh wants to complete the work of opening the new rail link with India, he said.
According to sources, Bangladesh railways will have to construct about 7.5-km new rail lines from Chilahati to reach the border while Indian Railways will have to build 4.5-km new track from its border to Haldibari station.
It may be recalled that both the countries had inked a pact last year during Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the country for opening new rail links with Bangladesh for cultural exchange and various activities between the two countries, sources said. Though the joint declaration between the two countries did not mention this particular route, they later realized that opening of this route would facilitate movement of people from both the countries as well trade and commerce, sources said and added the proposed route would revive easy regional connectivity among members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).
Source - SANA News

 

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