Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Thursday inaugurated the reopened rail link between Haldibari in India and Chilahati in Bangladesh during the virtual bilateral summit. The rail link has been reopened after 55 years.
The railway line from Haldibari (West Bengal) to Chilahati (Bangladesh) has been defunct since 1965, after rail links between India and then East Pakistan had broken.
Speaking on the occasion Modi said, “This year has been full of struggles due to the COVID pandemic, but it is satisfying that Indo-Bangladesh relations have been good during the pandemic.”
The Prime Mininister said, “Bangladesh is a major pillar in our neighbourhood first policy. It has been a special priority for me from day one to strengthen our relations with Bangladesh.”
Modi pointed out that India’s relationship has continuously moved ahead in other fields apart from health sector. “We have reduced hurdles in land border trade. We have also improved connectivity in the two countries and all of these show our commitment to strengthen ties,” he said.
According to the Railway Ministry, the reopening of rail link between Haldibari and Chilahati is a major step towards boosting people-to-people contact.
This rail link will enhance rail network accessibility to the main ports, dry ports, and land borders to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region.
The distance between Haldibari railway station till the international border is 4.5 kms while that from Chilahati in Bangladesh till the zero point is around 7.5 kms.
The resurrection of the route will help boost trade, as well as trans-border railway connectivity.