Prabhu flags off fully air-conditioned Maitri Express
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu flagged off Dhaka Cantonment Maitree Express, a fully air-conditioned train from Kolkata station on Friday.
"Although there is an international border between the two, the cultural and social bonding between both sides of the Bengalis living on either side of the border is still as warm as it was used to be 70 years back," said the minister after the flag off through video conferencing from New Delhi.
"In view of this, the government of two nations decided to run passenger train the Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment Station on April 14 in 2008 which normally coincides with the Bengali New Year. Since then, the train has been made by conventional coaches manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF). Now, the Maitree Express has been converted into a fully air-conditioned train from Friday, which will provide more passenger amenities and safety," the minister further added.
Prabhu also said that the running of Maitree Express has fulfilled the long cherished aspirations of the people from the two countries and improved bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh considerably.
He further said that since people of both the countries are demanding more and more connectivity between them, the two nations have decided to run another passenger train between Kolkata and Khulna through Petrapole and Benapole route.
"To implement this decision, the trial run of the train was already taken place on April 8. I hope that the regular train service between Kolkata and Khulna will be able to commence by July, 2017," the minister added.
S N Agrawal, General Manager, Eastern and South Eastern Railways said efforts are on to introduce end-to-end visa immigration formalities. Railways will work to reduce the journey time and detention period at Gede on the Indian side and at Darsana in Bangladesh.
Similar arrangements will also be made in case of Khulna-Kolkata Maitree Express which will be on a regular run from July this year.