India and Bangladesh will be introducing a weekly passenger train service between Kolkata and Khulna and both sides have agreed to expeditiously evaluate the feasibility in view of the popular demand and need for such a service.
Railways from both sides have agreed to evaluate the feasibility of initially operating this once a week service via the longer Gede-Darsana route with an Indian Railways' rake and review arrangements after issues relating to conduct of customs and immigration checks at Benapole/Petrapol or at Kolkata/Dhaka get settled.
It was also decided to implement the decisions taken in the last meeting, held in Dhaka in April 2014, and to further augment the frequency of Maitree Express from three round trips in a week to four times a week. Bangladesh Railways would conduct a due diligence exercise and revert to Indian Railways in due course.
At the India-Bangladesh Inter Governmental Railway Meeting (IGRM), which concluded in New Delhi today, Indian Railways also reiterated the urgency of introducing container train services between India and Bangladesh as it would help optimise the level of trans-border clearance of goods and in bringing down the overall transaction cost for trade.
Both railways also agreed to start transportation by rail of petroleum products from Numaligarh Refinery in Assam to Parbatipur in Bangladesh via the existing interchange points at Rohanpur and Singhabad.
With a view to catalyse growth in trade between the two countries, the need for undertaking rail connectivity projects like Radhikapur (India) - Birol (Bangladesh), Chilahati (Bangladesh) - Haldibari (India), Shahbazpur (Bangladesh) - Mahisasan (India), Akhoura (Bangladesh) - Agartala (India) and Feni (Bangladesh) - Belonia (India) was also discussed at the meeting.
Bangladesh Railways also agreed to have the proposal of Indian Railways for allowing access to Bangladesh Railways network for carrying through traffic to and from its eastern states placed for due consideration at the appropriate levels of its governments.