Kolkata, Apr 11: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will flag off the 'Maitree Express', linking Dhaka and Kolkata, on April 14, the Bengali new year day. This would be the first ever passenger train linking the two cities after Bangladesh attained freedom.
Booking of tickets began today at the foreign tourist passenger reservation counter at Fairlie Place, Strand Road, in the city. The tickets will be sold between 1000 hrs and 1700 hrs on all weekdays and between 1000-1400 hrs on Sundays and national holidays. Tickets are priced at 20 dollar for AC first class (cabin), 12 dollar in AC Chair car and 8 dollar in non-AC Chair car. Tickets will be issued in Indian currency and on production of valid documents like passport and visa, etc. The international bi-weekly 'Maitree Express' will have six coaches including a first class AC, a pantry car, one AC chair car and two non-AC chair cars with a capacity of 366 passengers.
The train will leave Kolkata station at 0700 hrs (IST) and reach Dhaka Cantonment at 2120 (IST) the same day. The train, fitted with modern gears, has already made several successful trial runs with speed limit of 150 kmph. Passenger carriages of the train were imported from Indonesia and were assembled here and in Bangldesh with technical knowhow from sellers.
West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, Information&Boradcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi among others will be present at the restoration of the journey which stopped in the early sixties.