India-Bangladesh launch new rail link to push cross-border trade

India and Bangladesh on Sunday launched regular operation of freight trains through the Haldibari – Chilahati Rail Route. Indian Railways dispatched the first freight train loaded with stones from Damdim Station of Northeast Frontier Railway to Bangladesh.

After the partition in 1947, 7 rail links were operational between India and the then East Pakistan (up to 1965). Presently, there are 4 operational rail links between India and Bangladesh. They are – Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh), Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh). The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is one such route which was operational till 1965.

The leadership of both India and Bangladesh are committed to revive all the pre-1965 railway links between the two countries. Hence, the restoration work was undertaken by the railways of both the countries to revive this rail link.

After the restoration, this railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of India and of Bangladesh during the PM level virtual bilateral summit on 17.12.2020.

The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link is the 5th rail link between India and Bangladesh being made operational from 1st August 2021.

The commodities that can be exported from India to Bangladesh through this rail route include Stones and Boulders, Food Grain, Fresh Fruits, Chemical Fertilizer, Onion, Chilies, Garlic, Ginger, Fly Ash, Clay, Lime Stone, Wood & Timber etc. From Bangladesh to India all exportable commodities are permitted.

This rail link coming into operation will strengthen India-Bangladesh Rail Connectivity and bilateral trade. It will also enhance rail network accessibility to the main ports and dry ports to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region.

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This line will be beneficial for transit between Bangladesh, Assam and West Bengal. It will enhance rail network access to the main ports, dry ports, and land borders and will aid and support the trade and economic development of the region. Common people and businessmen of both the countries will reap the benefit of both goods and passenger traffic once trainsare operationalized on this route. The new link is expected to facilitate easier movement of tourists between both countries.

Work is currently underway on the Karimganj/Mahisasan (India) – Shahbazpur (Bangladesh) rail link. Both sides are also working on the Agartala – Akhaura (Bangladesh) rail link connecting Tripura and Bangladesh.



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