Bangladesh gets 20 India-made broad gauge locomotives
New Delhi: In all 20 Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a handing-over ceremony held today at Rail Bhavan New Delhi. From the Bangladesh end, the Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan also joined in virtually.
The handing over of these diesel locomotives, under grant assistance from the Government of India, was part of a commitment made during the visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to India, in October 2019.
In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.
Vaishnav informed that work on two more cross-border rail connectivities, Akhaura-Agartala and Mahihasan-Shahbazpur was progressing well and was likely to be completed and commissioned shortly. As of now, five Broad Gauge connectivity are operational, namely Geda- Darsana, Benapol- Petrapol, Singhabad- Rohanpur, Radhikapur- Birol and Haldibari-Chilahati.”
Sujan expressed his gratitude to the Indian Government for the support. He recalled that in June 2020 Indian Government provided 10 locomotives to Bangladesh as grant. “We express our heartfelt gratitude to India for providing broad gauge locomotives. The supply of locomotives will help to improve both goods and passenger trains. We hope that existing collaboration between two countries regarding Railways sector will increase day by day,” he said.
To enhance people-to-people contact, presently three pairs of passenger trains between India and Bangladesh, namely, Kolkata-Dhaka Maitree Express, Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express and New Jalpaiguri- Dhaka Mitali Express are running.
Trade between both countries via rail has seen consistent growth with the interchange of close to 100 cargo trains per month and approximately 2.66 MT cargo was sent to Bangladesh in the last financial year. The export commodities are Stone, DOC, Foodgrains, China Clay, Gypsum, Maize, Onion and other essential items, as and when required, from India. Since 2020 permission has been given to operate parcel containers and NMG rakes which normally carry agricultural products, fabrics, finished goods, light commercial vehicles and tractors. A new traffic of geo-synthetic bags has just started and 3 Parcel trains have been sent from Gujarat.
In July 2020 also, in line with the Indian commitment to improve Rail service in Bangladesh, 10 BG Diesel locomotives were handed over to Bangladesh on a grant basis. As reported by Bangladesh, these locomotives are performing well and contributing well to the smooth movement of rail traffic in Bangladesh.
Today’s event was also attended by A.K.Lahoti, Chairman and CEO, the Railway Board, Board Members, senior officials of the Railway Board and delegates of Bangladesh.
– global bihari bureau