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Khulna-Kolkata train services launched

Khulna-Kolkata train services launched

Bandhan Express was flagged off jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshis couterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee via a video conference.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee joined the inauguration through videoconferencing from West Bengal. "This train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border".

With the inaugurations of these services, she said, a new door of relationship has been opened up between the two countries, and this will further strengthened in the future.

He said development and connectivity are linked to each other and the ties between India and Bangladesh, particularly between West Bengal and Bangladesh, are decades old.

"We want to cooperate with India and other countries in the immediate neighbourhood for creating an area of peace in South Asia", she said.

"The most important dimension of the connectivity is the people-to-people linkage", Prime Minister Modi said.

"I'm happy to note that we've recently extended our connectivity to space".

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

The dignitaries also inaugurated the International Passenger Rail Terminal, End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities (for the passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express) at Kolkata station, under India-Bangladesh Cooperation in Railways. "Bangladesh-India relations are in fact setting new high standards of bilateral cooperation in the region and beyond", she added.

PM Hasina also invited them to visit Bangladesh.

"Whenever we talk of connectivity, I am always reminded of the vision to revive the pre-1965 connectivity".

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj joined in from New Delhi, and her Bangladesh counterpart A.H. Mahmood Ali from Dhaka.

India and Bangladesh would touch a "new sky" of development and prosperity as the bilateral ties are being taken forward and people-to-people relations are further strengthened, he added.

"Bangladesh is one of India's best friend in the world".

Railway sources said the new train would start its commercial operation from November 16.

The 982.20m long and 7m width Bhairab Railway Bridge was built at a cost of 5.67bn taka, with construction beginning in 2013. Bandhan express will strengthen the relationship.

The bridge over the Titas was built by Indian company Gammon-Flcl Consortium.

Apart from Kolkata and Khulna, there will be two stops - Petrapole (in India) for around 10 minutes and Benapole (in Bangladesh) for around 15 minutes.


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