TT, Jalpaiguri, July 17: Senior officials of the Northeast Frontier Railway today visited the Haldibari station and the India-Bangladesh border to check the tracks in Cooch Behar district which they said, would soon connect with Chilahati in Bangladesh.
“It has been decided by the central government that the rail connectivity between India and Bangladesh would be improved. One of the routes through which the train track will connect the countries at the border is Haldibari-Chilahati route. The Union railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 31 crore for the project and we will soon start the construction,” Uma Shankar Singh Yadav, the divisional railway manager of the Katihar division of the NFR, said today.
According to Yadav, around three kilometres of rail track would be laid beyond Haldibari station till the India-Bangaldesh border while on the other side, the Bangladesh government will lay rail track beyond Chilahati station.
“The infrastructure in Haldibari station will be improved. We will build new platforms and lay six new rail tracks at the station. There will be a food plaza, a park and other amenities at the station where people from Bangladesh will come. It will be developed to an international standard station,” the rail official said.
“The construction department of the NFR will execute the project. It would take eight to 10 months to do the planning and start the work. We would then try to finish it as early as possible,” he added.
Yadav also said portions of railway land has been encroached upon in Haldibari town. “We need this land to execute the project. The encroachers should shift to other places. Nobody would be allowed to squat beside the railway tracks,” he said.
The Haldibari-Chilahati railway route had started in 1888 in then undivided India. It continued till 1965 and halted during the India-Pakistan war.
“Trains from Siliguri and beyond would go to Calcutta via this route,” a source said. “The trains used to enter Chilahati from Haldibari, move through Sodepur-Parbatipur-Lalmonirhat-Ishwardi and reach Gede, close to Ranaghat in Nadia district and terminate at Sealdah. It would take around eight hours to reach Calcutta from Siliguri,” he added.