NEW DELHI: Bangladesh is keen on restoring the pre-partition deserted railway linkages with India for an improved connectivity and a better trade, business and people-to-people relationship between the two countries.

At the Agartala- Akhaura check post, Bangladesh Railway minister Mohammad Mazibul Hoque asserted that the Bangladesh government is interested in restoring the earlier Indo-Bangla railway connectivity.

“After 1947, a number of railway lines between the two neighbours had snapped. The Independence war in 1947 won our hearts and both the countries came closer and people to people contact improved”, he said.

The Minister added “We are considering restoring most of the deserted railway linkages which connects the two countries”.

Expressing credence and optimism about India’s initiative to construct a 15-km railway track connecting Agartala with Akhaura (Bangladesh’s southeastern city), he said that Bangladesh believes that this enterprise, constructed and financed by India, is the beginning of restoration of surface transport link.

Hoque further added that this link would play a vital role in enhancing trade and communication between the two countries.

Besides this one project, Bangladesh is also sincerely looking for early implementation of India funded twelve such connectivity projects which had been announced in 2010 by the earlier UPA government during the visit of Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi.

Mohammad Mazibul further informed that these twelve projects were already being implemented in Bangladesh in order to develop and connect Bangladesh Rail with the Indian Railways at a soft loan of one billion USD.

Stressing on the importance of improving connectivity between the two countries, he said “If the old connectivity including the deserted railway linkages are restored, then trade, business, people-to-people relationship and tourism between the two countries would further develop, as life, culture and tradition are similar in eastern part of India and Bangladesh.”

He also apprised about the fact that Bangladesh was converting its railway tracks to dual gauge where facilities for running meter gauge and broad gauge trains would be available simultaneously and would help connecting with the Indian Railway system at any point.

Mujib further added that his country is also considerate to India’s longstanding demand to get access in land, sea and rail of Bangladesh for better connectivity in Southeast Asian countries through Tripura.