The Railway Ministry is likely to introduce Dhaka–Kolkata train service from mid July. The return fare will be around Rs 1,000.
A senior railway official said, a 10-compartment train with passengers with valid foreign travel documents would leave Joydevpur in Bangladesh, which is about 35 Km from Dhaka, at 7-45 am (local time) and is likely to reach the newly inaugurated "Kolkata" station in the city in eleven hours.
“On the Bangladesh side, the train will stop at Tangail, Ullapara, Poradah and at Iswardi junction. Customs and immigration checks will be done at Darshana station before entry to India. In Indian side the customs clearance will be done at Gede station in Nadia district. After that the train will only stop only at Kolkata station where it will terminate,” a senior official of the railways said.
Divisional Railway Manager, Sealdah, S K Mondol said a team of railway officials are in Dhaka to finalise the plans. “They are likely to return to city on Friday,” he said.
Customs officials, however, said that the infrastructure at Gede and Kolkata station needs to be improved to keep to the schedule. “We have to construct another platform at Gede where the train is supposed to arrive. Besides that we need a large number of X-ray machines, scanners and metal detectors to check the 1500 passengers of the two trains,” an official said.
Besides this the manpower of Customs department will also be strengthened. “Right now we have two superintendents, 4 inspectors and 4 Group D staffs at Gede border to handle 1.5 rakes per day for the goods train that is in service between the countries. But that needs to be increased to 25 Superintendents, 25 inspectors and 50 Group D staffs,” the official said. For this the customs have already approach the union government.
The customs plan to build up 20 counters at Gede station for the clearing the Customs and Immigration process. “Then we can clear the rush by two hours since all the baggages need to be opened and searched,” Additional Commissioner, Customs, P G Samanta said.
The railways had earlier announced that Indo-Bangladesh train service would start on the Bengali New Year’s Day on April 14. But it could start because of non-completion of formalities.
Keeping July as the deadline for the commencement of India-Bangladesh train service, railway officials from the two neighbouring countries have started consultation on matters related to the logistics of the service. “Both the governments are now sanitisation of the area which includes fencing work and cordoning off the check-post area,” the DRM said.
India and Bangladesh signed an agreement in 2001 for train services between the two countries with provision of renewal the agreement in three years.
The commencement of the train was even discussed at the recent meeting between the Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s and Bangladesh counterpart Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury in February 2007.
Dhaka-Kolkata Train Service
Expected: Mid July from Kolkata station.
Return Fare: Around Rs 1,000
Time: 11 hours
Distance: 250 KM
Run: Six days a week