Kolkata, Apr 14 (UNI) As External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee yanked the lever to flag off the journey, the 'Moitree Express' trundled out of Kolkata station this morning for Dhaka on a historic India-Bangladesh run.
Putting back into life the trans-border track that lay dead for 42 years and refreshing the bondage between the people on either side, the bi-weekly train in green and saffron carried 65 passengers on a sentimental journey on the Bengali New Year's day. It was for the first time that a passenger train ran on this route since September, 1965 when railway services between India and the erstwhile East Pakistan came to a stop.
Railway Minister Lalu Prasad described the initiative as a testimony to the UPA government's eagerness to strengthen relationship with the neighbouring nations. Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Railway Minister of State R Velu were among the large number of dignitaries present on the occasion.
Decked up with flowers, the train with seven coaches would take about 13 hours to run 406 km and reach Dhaka at 2030 hrs before halting for a considerable time at the border town of Gede in Nadia district and at Darshana in Bangladesh for various checkings.
A heavy security, with about 200 RPF, GRP and CID personnel on board was arranged for the journey as explosive experts scoured about in the train and the station complex with sniffer dogs.
While the 'Moitree Express' from Kolkata will leave every Saturday and Sunday, at 0710 hrs, a corresponding train from Dhaka will also start for Kolkata on those two days at 2030 hrs of Bangladesh time.
However, the inaugural 'Moitree Express' from Dhaka would start on Wednesday next to reach Kolkata the next day morning.
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