Updated: August 1, 2021 8:40:05 pm
Commercial services on the Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between India and Bangladesh, which had been defunct for over 50 years, commenced on Sunday with a goods train travelling to the neighbouring country.
The restored rail link was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on December 17, 2020.
However, no trains officially operated on the route after that due to the pandemic situation.
The stone chips laden goods train with 58 wagons rolled out of Dimdima station in Alipurduar at 10.30 am on Sunday. Its destination is Chilahati in Bangladesh via Haldibari.
“The first run of a commercial service between Haldibari and Chilahati will be on Sunday,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman had said on Saturday.
The distance between Haldibari Railway Station to the international border is 4.5 km and 7.5 km from Chilahati till the ‘zero point’.
After crossing Haldibari station the train reached the immigration check post at Khalpara-Dangapara.
The president of the North Bengal Chamber of Commerce, Kishore Marodiya who was present on the occasion said the commencement of commercial service on the rail link will help in the economic development in the districts of north Bengal and the whole state.
“Businessmen of the region are very happy,” he said.
The construction of a new broad gauge line from the Haldibari station to the Bangladesh border was sanctioned by the Railway Board following the joint declaration at the Inter-governmental Railway meeting in May 2015.
“The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was operational till 1965. However, the (Indo-Pak) war of 1965 effectively cut off all railway links between India and the then East Pakistan, the Ministry of Railways had said in a statement in December 2020.
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