Guwahati: Ten Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by the External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal in a virtual handing over ceremony on Monday.
In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.
It was a part of India’s commitment made to the neighbouring country during its Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in October 2019.
External Affairs Minister. Jaishankar said, “I am delighted to know that parcel and container trains have been started between both the countries. This will open up new opportunities for our businesses. I am happy to note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the supplies of essentials particularly in the holy month of Ramadan were ensured.”
Minister of Railways Goyal said, “These locomotives will be useful in handling the on-going freight train operations between India and Bangladesh. To ensure the usability of these locos in Bangladesh, they have been modified. The leadership of both countries is committed to reviving the pre-1965 railway connection between the two countries.”
He added that out of the seven rail links that existed then, four are functional now.
To further strengthen rail connectivity in the region, one new rail link, between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh is being constructed under Grant Assistance of India, Goyal informed.
Parcel train and container train services have been introduced via Benapole in Bangladesh. Both these services have already started in July.
In recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land border faced disruptions. Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June. A total of 103 freight trains were utilized for carrying essential commodities and raw materials.