India to consider Bangladesh proposal for second Maitree train

Dhaka,  (IANS) India has agreed to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to introduce the second Maitree express between Khulna and Kolkata in addition to the existing train service.

The joint declaration between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh said that he emphasized the need to increase Indian investment in Bangladesh and underscored the role of the private sector in this regard.

He welcomed the decision of Bangladesh to allocate land for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for India.

Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina welcomed the conclusion of memorandum of understanding for establishment of Indian SEZs in Bangladesh and directed the concerned officials to work to realize this goal at the earliest.

Mongla and Bheramara were identified as possible locations.

The declaration said that two sides underscored the need to narrow the trade imbalance.

The two prime ministers directed officials to remove all barriers to ensure unfettered bilateral trade, and stressed the urgent need for upgrading infrastructure of the land customs stations/land ports/integrated check posts in a coordinated manner.

They noted with appreciation the positive experience gained from the functioning of the “border haats” and stressed the need to open more of them at mutually agreed locations.

Modi conveyed that the new bus services on Khulna-Kolkata and Jessore-Kolkata as proposed by Bangladesh, may be operationalised after consultations by both sides.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction about the cooperation in the railways sector including the Akhaura-Agartala railway link and revival of the old railway links.

Both also welcomed the commencement of Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus services.

They reviewed developments regarding proposal for construction of a bridge over the river Feni at Ramgarh-Subroom and gave directions for its expeditious construction.

“Prime Minister Modi agreed to consider Bangladesh’s proposal to introduce the 2nd Maitree Express between Khulna and Kolkata. They directed the concerned officials of both sides to take measures for ensuring more passenger-friendly customs and immigration facilities for the passengers of Maitree Express (which runs between Dhaka and Kolkota),” the declaration said.

It said Modi announced that India will construct a modern international passenger terminal at a suitable location in India so as to facilitate customs and immigration requirements of passengers travelling on the existing Maitri Express and some other trains.

Both prime ministers also agreed to commence negotiations on a multi modal transport agreement between the two countries and to constitute a joint task force for this purpose.

They also noted with satisfaction the progress made by the joint working groups on sub-regional cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on water resources management, power, connectivity and transit.

Sheikh Hasina said that the ‘Bangabandhu Satellite-I’, the first Bangladesh satellite, is scheduled to be launched in 2017. She appreciated the SAARC Satellite project being undertaken by India.

The two leaders agreed to work closely on the development of ocean-based blue economy and maritime cooperation in the Bay of Bengal.

The declaration also said that Doordarshan and Bangladesh Television (BTV) will enter into an agreement to allow BTV to join Prasar Bharati’s DTH platform.

The Bangladesh prime minister also reiterated her country’s support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council.

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