Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s memory is being invoked to bridge the link between India and Bangladesh.
If things work as per plans, the Sanskriti Express — a special train flagged off in May last year to mark Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary — will travel to Bangladesh from August.
“In principle agreement in this matter has been reached”, said Mohammed Shahjehan, member of a visiting high-powered delegation of the Bangladesh Rail (BR).
It is only appropriate that the Indo-Bangla bonhomie has come to rest on the Tagore nostalgia, as the ‘Gurudev’ spent considerable number of years in what was then East Bengal and also has the unique distinction of authoring the national songs of both India and Bangladesh.
Speeding up progress on construction of the 12 kilometre Indo-Bangla link connecting Agartala in Tripura to Akhoura in Bangladesh and facilitating faster travel on the “Maitree Express” — the Kolkata-Dhaka train started in 2008 - are other items on the talk’s agenda that began on Wednesday.
Director-general of Bangladesh Railway, Mohammed Tawhid Ul Anwar Chowdhury, heads the five-member delegation.
“The talks agenda incorporates a broad sweep including proposals to build rail infrastructure, new lines and workshops”, said Eman-ul-Haq Chaudhary, press minister with the Bangladesh High Commission in India.
The Sheikh Hasina government has been working on the BR’s makeover plans, with proposals to procure 30 broad gauge locomotives, 100 metre gauge tank wagons and 10 diesel electric rail cars from India under a $1 billion credit line deal.