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Dhaka-Kolkata train from April 14: officials

Bangladesh and Indian authorities have said they expected the Dhaka-Kolkata direct train service to be launched on April 14.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2008 11:32 IST

Bangladesh and Indian authorities have said they expected the Dhaka-Kolkata direct train service to be launched on April 14, coinciding with the Bengali New Year 'Pahela Baishakh'.

"We are aiming to start the Dhaka-Kolkata passenger train service from Pahela Baishakh... You see, our rail minister has already announced the date in the parliament," Indian High Commissioner Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty said after a meeting with Communications advisor of the interim cabinet retired major general, Ghulam Quader.

Chakravarty expressed hope that infrastructural works that are yet to be completed would be finished within a short time to enable the Moitree Express passenger train service to run once in a week between Dhaka and the West Bengal capital.

Bangladeshi communication ministry officials, however, said the date would be announced officially after a supplementary deal between the railway officials of the two countries expected to be signed during a three-day bilateral talk in Dhaka beginning on April 1.

"We have already done two trial runs and found no problems. Let's start the service; we can address problems if they come up," Communications Secretary Mahbubur Rahman said.

Officials in Dhaka earlier said they now awaited India's nod to resume Dhaka-Kolkata train service on Bengali New Year Pahela Baishakh after the advisory council of the interim government last month accepted an Indian proposal for constructing box-type fencing in zero lines of frontier.

According to the proposed agreement, Dhaka will also construct a similar structure near the border in Bangladesh.

The possibility of resumption of a rail-link was hanging in the balance due to Dhaka's dispute over the proposal for construction of metal cage by India within 150 yards of the "no man's land" on the border to check smuggling.