India is ready to supply locomotives and passenger carriages and transfer technology for railway signalling systems to Bangladesh as part of ongoing cooperation between the two sides to improve connectivity.
The matter figured when Bangladesh high commissioner Muhammad Imran met railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday and discussed various issues related to the railways sector, including the development of infrastructure and improvement of capacity of Bangladesh Railways.
Imran also briefed the minister about the upgrade of the Dhaka-Chattogram railway link, especially the Akhaura-Laksam section, and sought India's support in this regard, according to a statement from the Bangladesh high commission.
The Indian side expressed its readiness to "supply locomotives, diesel-electric multiple units (DEMU) train, mainline-electric multiple unit (MEMU) train as well as passenger carriages and transfer of technology for railway signalling system to Bangladesh", the statement said.
The Bangladeshi envoy also met minister Raj Kumar Singh and discussed various aspects of bilateral cooperation in the power and new and renewable energy sector.
Imran sought the Indian minister's support for trilateral cooperation in hydropower energy among Bangladesh, Bhutan and India. They also discussed the commissioning of the Maitree super thermal power project at Rampal and trans-national power connectivity.
The Maitree project is a 1,320-MW coal-fired power station being built at Rampal by the Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL), a 50-50 joint venture between India's state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). The construction of the plant began in 2017 and it is set to be commissioned this year. It will be one of the largest coal-fired power plants in Bangladesh.
In August last year, India and Bangladesh resumed the operation of freight trains on the restored Haldibari-Chilahati route, giving a boost to rail connectivity between the two sides. The route was snapped during the war between India and Pakistan in 1965, when Bangladesh was East Pakistan.
India and Bangladesh are currently working to restore seven rail links that were operational till 1965, and five have already been made operational. India provided 10 diesel locomotives to Bangladesh as grant assistance in 2020.