Freight services restored on Haldibari-Chilahati railway link between Bangladesh and India

 Bangladesh and India on Sunday started regular operation of freight trains through the restored Haldibari-Chilahati rail route after over 50 years, which will strengthen railway connectivity and bilateral trade between the two countries.

The restored rail link was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on December 17, 2020.

The rail route between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) has been defunct for over 50 years.

It will also enhance rail network access to the main ports and dry ports to support the growth in regional trade to encourage economic and social development of the region, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Sunday.

The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is the fifth rail link between Bangladesh and India that has been made operational, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday.

The commodities that can be exported from India to Bangladesh through this rail route include stones and boulders, foodgrain, fresh fruits, chemical fertilizer, onion, chillies, garlic, ginger, fly ash, clay, limestone and wood.

From Bangladesh to India all exportable commodities are permitted.

Indian Railways dispatched the first freight train loaded with stones from Damdim station of Northeast Frontier Railway to Bangladesh, the report added.

After the Partition in 1947, seven rail links were operational between India and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) until 1965.

Presently, there are four rail links between Bangladesh and India that are operational.

They are Petrapole (India) - Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) - Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India) -Rohanpur (Bangladesh), Radhikapur (India) - Birol (Bangladesh).

The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is one such route that was operational till 1965. The leadership of both Bangladesh and India are committed to reviving all the pre-1965 railway links between the two countries.

The restoration work was undertaken by the railways of both countries to revive this rail link. 

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