Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan has said a new passenger train will run between Dhaka and Siliguri, India on 26 March next year, marking the Independence Day.
He said this when Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Vikram Kumar Doraiswami paid a courtesy call on him at his Rail Bhaban office in the city on Monday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will officially inaugurate the re-establishment of rail communications on Chilahati-Haldibari route on 17 December through videoconferencing, he also said.
An empty wagon will leave Chilahati for Haldibari on the occasion of the inauguration. Freight trains would actually be operated through the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link, the press release said.
The opening of the Haldibari-Chilahati route would be a revival of the old rail link after 55 years. After the Indo-Pak war of 1965, this rail line was permanently closed.
The minister sought the high commissioner's cooperation in implementing the plan to start operation of a passenger train between Dhaka and Siliguri, the press release added.
The minister and the Indian envoy also discussed railway projects which are being implemented under Indian Lines of Credits (LoCs).
In particular, they discussed construction of Khulna-Mongla rail line, Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Ishwardi, new railway line from Bogura to Sirajganj, Jashore-Satkhira rail line and establishment of a modern factory in Saidpur.
Additionally, both parties discussed the construction of an ICD at Sirajganj and its benefits in detail.
A new train will run from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar by the end of 2022, the railways minister said.
He added that the government has adopted the process of upgradation of important rail lines across the country to double lines, as it was not possible to develop the railways without installation of double lines.
Railways Secretary Salim Reza and Bangladesh Railway Director General Md Shamsuzzaman attended the meeting.