Friday, 17 November, 2017

Modi, Hasina, Mamata flag-off Bandhan Express

Modi, Sheikh Hasina flag off new train service India, Bangladesh launch cross-border passenger train service
Wilma Wheeler | 10 November, 2017, 00:58

She was addressing a programme at the Gono Bhaban marking the inauguration of the end-to-end immigration and customs of Maitree Express, flagging off Bandhan Express (Khulna-Kolkata) and launching of train communication on the newly-built 2nd Bhairab and 2nd Titas railway bridges, reports UNB.

Bandhan Express will be a weekly train leaving from Kolkata every Thursday at 7.10 am. An overwhelmed Bangladeshi PM said, "The inauguration of the train services and the two bridges marked a new episode in the relationship of both the countries".

Both the leaders were joined by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Kolkata. On the occasion, Narendra Modi said the ties of friendship between India and Bangladesh have further strengthened.

PM Hasina said that Bangladesh wants collaborative engagements with India and other neighbours for regional peace, prosperity and benefit of the people in South Asia.

He thanked Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for their support.

PM Modi spoke a few lines in Bengali greeting the people of India and Bangladesh.

"These new modes of connectivity are adding diverse dimensions to our overall connectivity architecture.I am happy to note that we have recently extended our connectivity to the space too", she said.

Hasina too expressed hope for more such initiatives for increasing rail link and connectivity between the two countries.

"India takes pride in being a development partner of Bangladesh".

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM's Economic Affairs Adviser Moshiur Rahman, Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla and secretaries concerned were present at the Gono Bhaban.

She also wished all the success of the Maitree Express and Bandhan Express services.

"The relations between the two countries will strengthen in the future", she said.

"Whenever we talk of connectivity, I am always reminded of the vision to revive the pre-1965 connectivity". When the Barisal Express, which used to ferry passengers till 1965, was shut down, passengers were inconvenienced.

The new Titas Bridge is 218.7m in length and is 7m wide, built at a cost of 1.61bn taka by another Indian company, Gannon-Flcl Consortium, under a similar agreement with the government.

The train, according to the schedule, would leave Kolkata at 11 a.m. (India time) and reach Khulna in four and half hours.

There are several rail link projects between India and Bangladesh.

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