• Saturday, Jan 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 07:32 pm

Rail track from Banglabandha to Siliguri a possibility

  • Published at 10:19 pm June 8th, 2019
Maitree Express
File photo of Maitree Express Dhaka Tribune

The Bangladesh and India governments have been working to rebuild the railway links that existed before the 1965 war

Railways Minister Advocate Nurul Islam Sujan said the government has decided to construct a railways track from Panchagarh to India's Siliguri city in an effort to expand trade and business among four countries. 

He said: "A railway track will be constructed from Banglabandha land port to the northeast Indian state of West Bengal's Siliguri city."

However, the minister did not offer any further details on the project.

He made the statement while addressing a reception event hosted by Panchagarh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) as the chief guest on Saturday.

Over the past several years, Bangladesh and India have been working to rebuild their railway links that existed before the 1965 India-Pakistan War. While the Maitree Express travels between Dhaka and Kolkata, there are several other links that are being restored.

Highlighting the importance of rail transport infrastructure, the minister said the country is moving forward with strategic planning under the leadership of the prime minister. 

Nurul Islam also reiterated by saying: "For the next generation of Bangladeshis, the government has been working relentlessly to implement its Delta Plan."

Railways Minister Advocate Nurul Islam Sujan speaks during a reception event, hosted by Panchagarh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) in Panchagarh on Saturday, June 8, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

He said the country would not be able to progress without developing a strong railways network.

Referring to the existing rail network in the country, the minister said it is apparently in a very poor, run-down condition, and was the only mode of transportation during the early 70s. In the subsequent years, railway infrastructure was very much destroyed, he added.

Criticizing the BNP-Jamaat government from 2001-2006, he further said that the political alliance had laid off tens of thousands of railway staff and employees and stopped hiring in 1986.

The minister claimed the present government has gained peoples' trust and confidence by modernizing railway and improved service delivery. Additionally, the government has also constructed dual railway line along important railway routes. 

In order to address the nagging traffic situation in the country, Nurul Islam said improved and expanding rail network would reduce transport pressure on the highways. 

He said: "A containers train could effectively carry same amount of goods of nearly 200 trucks."

During the speech, he instructed authorities concerned to take administrative measures against ticket black-marketers to address irregularities in railway ticket counters. 

Urging the businessmen and entrepreneurs to pay due taxes in order to boost the country's development initiatives.

The reception event was presided over by Panchagarh Chambers of Commerce and Industries' President Abdul Hannan Sheikh. Among others, Panchgarh-1 MP Md Mazharul Haque Pradhan, district Council Chairman and district Awami League (AL) General Secretary Anwar Sadat Somrat and Panchagarh Municipality Mayor Tawhidul Islam were recognized and presented with crests. 

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