New cross country train, ‘Bandhan Express’ launched by Modi, Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Thursday jointly launched 'Bandhan Express,' a new passenger train service between Kolkata and Bangladesh's southwestern industrial city of Khulna.
The two premiers inaugurated the service through video-conferencing. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee joined the conference from Kolkata railway station.
It will operate on the Khulna-Kolkata route with an aim to facilitate travel between the two neighbouring countries.
Bandhan Express will be the second train which will run between the two countries. Although the service is being launched on Thursday, it will start operating only on November 16.
They would also launch two railway bridges, built with Indian line of credit, and an "end-to-end" immigration facility to ease Dhaka-Kolkata 'Maitree' train services.
At present, Indians going to Bangladesh or Bangladeshis visiting India have to complete the immigration process at Darshana station in Bangladesh and at India's Gede point, where they have to wait for hours.
The two new bridges have been built on the Bhairab and the Titas rivers for the second track for simultaneous operation of up and down train services from Dhaka to southeastern Chittagong and northeastern Sylhet.
"We will call the new structures as the second Bhairab bridge and the second Titas bridge," a railway official said.
The 984-metre-long and seven-metre-wide Bhairab Railway Bridge was built at a cost of 567 crore Taka while the 218- metre-long and 70-metre-wide new Titas Bridge has been built at a cost of 161 crores Taka by two Indian companies.
With the launch of Bandhan Express ties between India and Bangladesh will further strengthen to newer heights and the new train service will clearly boost healthy friendship between the two neighbouring countries.