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Indian Railways hand over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh
New Delhi, July 27, 2020
External Affairs Minister S Jayashankar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal flagged off 10 Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives for Bangladesh Railway at a virtual ceremony here today.
The event was also attended by Minister of State for Railways Suresh C. Angadi.
Bangladesh Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abul Kalam Abdul Momen received the locomotives on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh.
The handing over of these locomotives, under grant assistance from the Union Government, fulfils an important commitment made during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India, in October 2019.
In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.
Speaking on the occasion, Jaishankar said, “I am delighted to join this ceremony of handing over 10 locomotives to Bangladesh. I am glad to know that parcel and container trains have been started between both countries. This will open up new opportunities for our businesses. I am happy to note that the movement of trade by rail has been ensured. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of essentials particularly in the holy month of Ramadan was ensured.”
He highlighted the depth of the time-tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect. He expressed his happiness that the COVID pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation and conveyed that he looked forward to more such milestones in the ongoing historic Mujib Barsho.
Goyal said, “It gives me immense pleasure to hand over 10 broad gauge locomotives for the use of Bangladesh Railways. These locomotives will be useful in handling the on-going freight train operations between India and Bangladesh. To ensure the usability of these locos in Bangladesh, they have been modified. We have made huge strides forward in our respective efforts at achieving development & growth.
“India & Bangladesh have come a long way in the last few years. Our bilateral relationship today is at its very best. Our neighbourhood policy follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas. The leadership of both India and Bangladesh, are committed to reviving the pre-1965 railway connection between the two countries. Out of the seven rail links that existed then, four are functional now," he said.
"To further strengthen rail connectivity in the region, one new rail link, between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh is being constructed and financed under Grant Assistance of India. During COVID-19, both Railways have shown exemplary foresight in managing the crisis and maintaining the supply chain by stepping up the transportation of essential commodities.
"Parcel train and container train services have been introduced via Benapole in Bangladesh. Both these services have already started in July. These have enabled us to move a wide range of products from both sides. Railways have ensured that the two countries can continue our bilateral trade without any disruption & health risk. Both Railways are ensuring a better future for the people,” he added.
In recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land border faced disruptions. Rail as a cost-effective and environment-friendly solution has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border. Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in June. A total of 103 freight trains were utilized for carrying essential commodities and raw materials.
Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh. This is expected to significantly enhance the scope of bilateral trade, an official press release added.