Shri Narendra Damodar Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Smt. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh jointly flagged off the trial run of Khulna-Kolkata train from Benapole through video link from New Delhi today (8.4.2017).
The train was received in Indian border at Petrapole by Eastern Railway’s Divisional Railway Manager, Sealdah..
Shri S. N. Agrawal, General Manager, Eastern & South Eastern Railways, Shri Satish Kumar, Additional General Manager, Eastern Railway, Shri Basudev Panda, Divisional Railway Manager, Sealdah and other dignitaries received the train and high-officials of Bangladesh at Kolkata station.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Agrawal said that though there was an international border between the two countries (i.e. India and Bangladesh), the cultural and social bonding between the Bengalees as a whole lying on either side of the border is still warn as it used to be 70 years back.In view of this, the government of both the countries decided to run Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantt. since April 2008.
Shri Agrawal further said that after passage of nine years, people of both the countries are demanding more connectivity between the two countries through train route. Considering this, government of both the countries have further decided to run another passenger train between Kolkata and Khulna through Benapole and Petrapole route. It is expected that regular train services between Kolkata and Khulna is expected to be commenced by July 2017.
Shri B. M. Jamal Hossain, counsellor of Bangladesh High Commission at Kolkata , Md. Alamgir Alam, Additional DIG, Bangladesh Police, Mr. Belal Uddin, Chief Operating Superintendant of Bangladesh Railways spoke on the occasion. Smt. Nayana Bandopadhaya, Hon’ble MLA, West Bengal Assembly also welcomed the guests of Bangladesh.
Shri Satish Kumar, Additional General Manager, Eastern Railway speaking on the occasion said that this is a goodwill gesture between the two countries.
It is stated that both Maitree Express and Kolkata-Khulna Passenger trains would not only have fulfilled long cherished aspirations of the people of these two countries, but would also go a long way in improving the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh. Moreover, about 30 years after the independence of Bangladesh (1971), Indo-Bangladesh rail corridor at Petrapole –Benapole was reopened in January, 2001 for running of goods train on regular basis. This also fulfilled the popular demand of people of both India and Bangladesh.