In an attempt to stronger the existing bond between India and Bangladesh, the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy has been initiated. As a part of this policy, a new train has been launched which will connect West Bengal’s New Jalpaiguri station in India to Dhaka in Bangladesh. The train is all set to function on June 1. This is the third passenger train service.
The New Jalpaiguri – Dhaka Cantonment train is Mitali Express. The train will take approximately nine hours to cover the distance of 513 kms. It will run two days a week – Sunday and Wednesday, with the train no. 13132. While returning from Dhaka Cantonment to New Jalpaiguri, the train will function every Monday and Thursday with train no 13131. The train will travel through the newly inaugurated Haldibari-Chilahati route. During the pre-1965 days, this railway passage used to be in practise.
In an interview, Svendhu Kumar Chaudhury, DRM, Katihar division of Northeast Frontier Railway said,” We are ready to start the services, the train is ready with maximum facilities. Around 15-20 passengers have already booked their tickets for the first journey. It is a direct service, with no pantry-car facility. We have installed a number of CCTV cameras at the platform as well and our Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel will be deputed in every corner. The Border Security Force (BSF) will take the train at Haldibari station and hand it over to Bangladesh at the Zero line.”
This new train will be helpful in several ways. It will provide transportation to people and also increase the tourism aspect in both countries. Plans to construct shopping malls, hospitals and low-cost hotels are being planned too. Immigration and customs services will be available too.
Trains Between India And Bangladesh
To curb covid-19 cases, train services between Kolkata and Bangladesh were suspended since March 2020. Other trains that are in service are Kolkata – Dhaka Maitree Express from Dhaka by Bangladesh Railway rake and the other one is Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express from Kolkata by Indian Railways rake. The train services resumed on 29 May 2022.