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Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri train service soon: Shringla

  • Gautam Lahiri, New Delhi
  • 22nd November, 2021 07:52:06 PM
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Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said a train service connecting Dhaka to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) will commence shortly.

This would be a major boost to tourism and would in turn rejuvenate the economy of this region, he said while visiting Darjeeling to attend a charity programme.

Addressing the gathering, Shringla said, "The Dhaka to Siliguri train via Chilapata at the earliest possible. This is the 6th connectivity with Bangladesh and will definitely boost trade and tourism.”

He said, "First we will start with a goods train followed by a passenger train. It will be connecting Bangladesh with North Bengal."

With an aim to improve person-to-person connection between the two countries, a new passenger train service is expected set to roll out on March 26 connecting New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in the northern part of Bengal in India with Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, he said.

This was a long-standing demand of the people of two countries. In a two day meeting between railway top brasses of the two countries, the officials finally decided on the logistics of this train service. Earlier, talking to media at NJP,  Ravinder Kumar Verma, Divisional Railway Manager, Katihar said  a train would run between New Jalpaiguri to Dhaka.

It will be a bi-weekly train covering 513 km in around 8 hours. The train will have 10 coaches including 2 AC coaches, 6 sleeper cars and 2 chair cars. There will be two immigration check points, one at NJP and the other at Dhaka cantonment, said a railway official. The train will depart on Mondays and Thursdays from NJP and Tuesdays and Fridays from Dhaka. The train will depart at 2pm from NJP and reach Dhaka at around 9 pm. It will depart from Dhaka at 11pm and reach NJP at 7am the next day.

Pinning the rejuvenation process of the local economy on the 3 Ts- Tea, Tourism and Talent of the Hills, Shringla counted the immense potential of this region in the tourism sector.

"There has been a 19% increase in tourism in Sikkim. This is owing to a policy change in India whereby people from Bangladesh are being allowed to visit restricted and protected areas of India. Immediately there was a rush of visitors from Bangladesh to Sikkim. Darjeeling too reaped the benefits," he said.

Indian Foreign Secretary said this region and Darjeeling are extremely well-placed geographically and has to exploit it to its full capacity promoting tourism in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

"Buddhism is the connection between Darjeeling and Thailand. Monks and tourists visit Darjeeling. Many Thai students attend schools in Darjeeling while many youths and adults come here to learn the English language," added Shringla.