Thursday, 2 December, 2021

Dhaka-Jalpaiguri train service soon: Shringla

Dhaka-Jalpaiguri train service soon: Shringla

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New Delhi: Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said a train service connecting Dhaka with New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal will be launched soon.

“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-New Jalpaiguri train via Chilapata will be launched at the earliest possible time. This is the 6th connectivity with Bangladesh and will definitely boost trade and tourism.”

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

With an aim to improve people-to-people connectivity between the two countries, the new passenger train service is expected to roll out on March 26 next year, a railway official said.     

This was a long-standing demand of the people of the two countries. In a two-day meeting between railway top brasses of the two countries in February last, the officials finally decided on the logistics of this train service.

Earlier, talking to reporters at NJP, Ravinder Kumar Verma, divisional railway manager of Katihar, said a train will run between New Jalpaiguri to Dhaka.

It will be a biweekly train covering 513 kms in around eight hours. The train will have 10 coaches, including two AC ones, six sleeper cars and two chair cars.

There will be two immigration check points -- one at NJP and the other at Dhaka Cantonment Airport, said a railway official. The train will depart on Mondays and Thursdays from NJP and Tuesdays and Fridays from Dhaka. The train will leave at 2:00pm from NJP and reach Dhaka around 9:00pm. It will depart Dhaka at 11:00pm and reach NJP around 7:00am 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 percent 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.

The 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.