Alipurduar (West Bengal) [India]: The first goods train carrying stone chips to Bangladesh through the revived Haldibari-Chilahati rail link departed from Damdim station of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal on Saturday.
With this, the commercial services on the railway link between India and Bangladesh, which had been defunct since 1965, have started. The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link between India and then East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) was operational till 1965. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the rail link.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular train services could not be started on the section.
“The first goods train carrying stone chips to Bangladesh through the revived Haldibari -Chilahati rail link leaves from Damdim station of Alipurduar Division in NFR (Northeast Frontier Railway) on 31.07.2021,” the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) in a statement said.
The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri but the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links.
The rail link will provide a shorter route for the transit of goods into Bangladesh from Assam, West Bengal, Nepal, and Bhutan, the NFR said.
This rail link will enhance rail network access to the main ports, dry ports, and land borders to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region.
“Economic activities of these South Asian countries will also be benefitted from this new rail link,” the statement read.