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After a gap of 55 years, a goods train with 33 bogeys flagged off from Bangladesh for India reviving the Chilahati-Haldibari rail route and received cheers on both sides of the border.
The railway line from Haldibari (West Bengal) to Chilahati (Bangladesh) has been not functioning since 1965 after rail-links between India and then-East-Pakistan had broken.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in a virtual bilateral summit inaugurated the service on Thursday.
The train, flagged off by Bangladesh railway minister Nurul Islam Sujon, was greeted by many people as it reached Zero Point from Chilahati station.
As reported by The Times Of India, Sujon announced that a passenger train would ply from Dhaka to Siliguri three times a week starting from March 26.
Apart from this, Sujon further informed that trains from New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP) would go to Sealdah via Bangladesh's Chilahati, Domar, Toronbari, Nilfamari, Sayeedpur, Darshana and Parbatipur before entering India through the Gede border.
The distance between Haldibari railway station and the international border is 4.5 kilometres. On the other hand, the distance from Chilahati in Bangladesh to the zero point is around 7.5 kilometres.
It is expected that the resuming of goods train on this route will help boost trade, as well as trans-border railway connectivity.
The track will also help improve connectivity with the Siliguri corridor, famously known as the 'Chicken's Neck'.
This corridor connects India with the North-eastern states, and lately, it has witnessed growing aggressiveness from another neighbouring country, China, in recent times.
The launch has made five of six India-Bangladesh rail links operational. The other four connecting West Bengal with Bangladesh are Petrapole-Benapole, Gede-Darshana, Singhabad-Rohanpur and Radhikapur-Birol.
The Haldibari-Chilahati route is expected to enhance Bangladesh's connectivity to Assam too.
The 180 BSF battalion will be deployed at the International Check Post, Haldibari, to man gates on the rail track. The 65 BSF Battalion looks after the border in this sector.
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