November 10, 2017

PRIME MINISTERS OF INDIA & BANGLADESH & CHIEF MINISTER OF WEST BENGAL FLAGGED OFF KOLKATA-KHULNA BANDHAN EXPRESS

 Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh &  Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, in an historical event today (9.11.17)  flagged off (through video conference)Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express  from Kolkata station and by jointly unveiling e-plaque,  inaugurated  (i) Second Bharirab & Titas Railway Bridges  in Bangladesh, (ii)International Rail Passenger Terminus with End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities (for the passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express) at Kolkata station.

       Addressing the o­n the occasion, Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India said that the close connection and understanding between two countries requires connectivity between the people across the border , Maitree Express and Bandhan Express trains will bring more connectivity between India and Bangladesh and strengthen further bonding.

The Prime Minister also expressed that it is a great privilege for India to become the most trusted partner of Bangladesh for execution & completion of various developmental projects in Bangladesh.

        H.E Seikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh expressed her hope for more such initiatives for increasing rail link & connectivity between the two countries. She also expressed her concern about convenience of the passengers of Maitree and Bandhan Express trains with reduced journey time after introduction of International Passenger Rail Terminus with End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities.

        The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee said that this new Passenger Train link between Kolkata & Khulna will strengthen the relationship between two countries. She expressed happiness o­n introduction of the new train between the two countries & recollected the traditional bonding with Bangladesh.

     



After the introduction of  ‘Maitree Express’ between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment stations in April, 2008, the Governments of India and Bangladesh have further decided to run another passenger train viz. Bandhan Express between Kolkata and Khulna through Petrapole & Benapole route to cater to the demands of the people of both the countries for more connectivity.

   The Bandhan Express will be a weekly service o­n every Thursday. The Kolkata - Khulna Bandhan Express (13129 Up) will depart from Kolkata at 07.10 hrs.(IST) and arrives at Khulna at 12:30 hrs.(BST) o­n the return journey the Khulna-Kolkata Bandhan Express ( 13130 Down) will depart from Khulna at 13.30 hrs. (BST) and arrive at Kolkata at 18.10 hrs.(IST) o­n the same day. The immigration and Customs checks will take place at Kolkata International Passenger Terminal for the Indian side and at Benapol border station for Bangladesh side.

        The second Bhairab Bridge and Titas Bridge in Bangladesh built under the assistance of Government of India are two of the most important projects in Bangladesh for infrastructure and rolling stock development. The o­ne kilometer long second Bhairab Railway Bridge was built over the mighty Meghna river at a cost of around USD 75 millions by Indian contractors and consultants. Similarly, the Titas bridge over river Titas in Eastern Bangladesh was built with a cost of around USD 25 million. Both these bridges are o­n the main Chittagong to Dhaka Trunk Rail Line which will help in faster movement of both passenger and freight trains of Bangladesh.

          To reduce the en-route journey time of the passengers of the existing Kolkata – Dhaka Cantt. Maitree Express and newly introduced Kolkata – Khulna Bandhan Express, Ministry of Railways, with the coordination of Department of Immigration & Customs has opened an International Rail Passenger Terminus at Kolkata station with proper infrastructure and facilities of end-to-end immigration. With this new facility at Kolkata Terminal, the passengers of Maitree Express and Bandhan Express will be immensely benefitted.

     The journey time of Maitree Express from Kolkata to Dhaka will be 08 hrs.25mts.  and from Dhaka to Kolkata will be 08 hrs.15mts.   i.e. a reduction of about 2 hours. It will depart from Kolkata at 07.10 hrs.(IST) (on Mon, Tue, Fri & Sat) and arrive at Dhaka at 16.05 hrs.(BST) instead of earlier arrival at Dhaka at 18.05 hrs.(BST). o­n the return journey it will depart from Dhaka at 08.15 hrs.(BST) (on Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun)  instead of earlier departure from Dhaka at 08.10 hrs. (BST) and arrive at Kolkata at 16.00 hrs.(IST) instead of earlier arrival at Kolkata at 18.10 hrs.(IST).

     Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Hon’ble MP & Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee o­n Railways , Smt. Mala Saha, Hon’ble MLA, Shri Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway, Mr. Toufique Hasan, Dy. High Commissioner, Bangladesh Deputy High Commission, Kolkata graced the occasion at Kolkata station and also addressed the gathering.