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|Thursday, July 12, 2001, updated at 09:24(GMT+8)|
Bangladesh-India Train Service ResumesA passenger train service between Bangladesh and India began on Wednesday, 36 years after it was suspended.
The decision for resumption of the train service between Darashana, in Kushtia of Bangladesh, and Sealdah in Kolkata had been taken at a foreign secretary-level meeting between the two neighbours.
The first trial run of the long-awaited train service from Bangladesh side began Wednesday as a delegation of mostly technical persons proceeded towards Sealdah, Kolkata, in a special train from the eastern side of the Bangabandhu Bridge, a source in the communications ministry said.
The train carrying eight officials from the ministries of communications, home and foreign affairs left for Kolkata at 10 a.m. and is scheduled to reach Sealdah at 7 p.m.
Regular direct train service between the two countries is expected later in the year. There is also a possibility of a Dhaka-Kolkata direct rail service by the end of 2002 or early 2003, the sources hinted.
Resumption of passenger train service between Bangladesh and India would fulfil a long-cherished dream of the peoples of both countries. "Today's journey will be a trial run, but certainly a prelude to a regular service, the schedule of which is yet to be finalised," the source said.
He said the trial run of the Indian train would take place July 12 and the train from Kolkata will come up to the eastern side of the Bangabandhu Bridge. The return journey of the Bangladesh train from India will start at 8 a.m. and reach the eastern side of the Bangabandhu Bridge at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The prospect of the passenger train service between the two countries was brightened when the links for goods trains between Bangladesh and India were restored via Petrapole in India and Benapole in Bangladesh in January.
The train from Bangladesh will reach Sealdah via Darshana of southwestern Kushtia and Gede in Nadia, West Bengal.
The direct train service between the then East Bengal (Bangladesh), initiated in the early 1920s by colonial rulers continued till 1965. The war between India and Pakistan destroyed the communication links.
Before the service was discontinued after the India-Pakistan War in 1965, some trains from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, used to go to Kolkata via Darshana.
The possibility of running passenger trains between the two countries through Benapole-Petrapole will be looked into later, the source said.
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