To further develop bilateral relations, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Railways, virtually flagged off 20 Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives to Bangladesh on May 23 at Rail Bhavan, New Delhi. Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, the Minister of Railways of Bangladesh, also participated virtually. A.K. Lahoti, Chairman and CEO, the Railway Board, Board Members, senior Railway Board officials, and Bangladesh delegations attended the occasion.
The delivery of two diesel locomotives, made possible by grant support from the Government of India, fulfils a key commitment made during the visit of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, to India in October 2019. The locomotives have been adequately upgraded by the Indian side to meet the criteria of the Bangladesh Railway. These locomotives will aid in the handling of Bangladesh’s growing passenger and freight train operations.
“India’s relationship with Bangladesh is civilizational, cultural, social, and economic,” Ashwini Vaishnaw stated on this occasion. Both countries’ prime ministers are taking proactive steps to develop bilateral relations in the social, economic, and political spheres. Indian Railways is also helping to improve and strengthen train connectivity across the border as well as trade between the two nations. Five BG connections are currently operational: Geda-Darsana, Benapol-Petrapol, Singhabad-Rohanpur, Radhikapur-Birol, and Haldibari-Chilahati. Work on two further cross-border train links, Akhaura-Agartala and Mahihasan-Shahbazpur, is proceeding well and is expected to be finished and commissioned soon.”
Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, Minister of Railways of Bangladesh, said virtually, “I express my gratitude to the Indian Government for their support.” Previously, the Indian government granted Bangladesh ten locomotives in June 2020. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to India for providing broad-gauge locomotives. The availability of locomotives will aid in the improvement of both cargo and passenger trains. We hope that the existing relationship between the two countries in the railway sector will grow day by day.”
Rail trade between the two nations has witnessed constant expansion, with close to 100 cargo trains passing through each month and around 2.66 MT of cargo shipped to Bangladesh in the previous fiscal year. Stone, DOC, foodgrains, China clay, gypsum, maize, onions, and other vital materials are exported from India as needed. Permission to operate parcel containers and NMG rakes, which generally transport agricultural products, textiles, finished items, light commercial vehicles, and tractors, has been granted since 2020. A new geo-synthetic bag traffic has recently begun, and three parcel trains have been dispatched from Gujarat.