It was a historic day today as the rail services between Haldibari in West Bengal and Chilahati in Bangladesh resumed in Coochbehar after a gap of 55 years. Notably, the railway line from Haldibari (West Bengal) to Chilahati (Bangladesh) has been defunct since 1965, after rail-links between India and then East-Pakistan had broken.
“Freight trains are running initially; later passenger trains will run. Businesses in the area will flourish,” says a railway official. The India-Bangladesh cross-border rail route inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on 17 December.
The distance between Haldibari railway station till the international border is 4.5 kilometres while that from Chilahati in Bangladesh till the zero points is around 7.5 kilometres. The resumption of railway services in this route will help boost trade, as well as trans-border railway connectivity.
Apart from this, the 75-kilometre-long track will also help better integrate the rest of the country with the Siliguri corridor, also known as the ‘Chicken’s Neck’. As per the latest reports, the Chicken’s Neck got its name from the stretch of land being only twenty-two kilometres wide. This is the only piece of land connecting India with its north-eastern states, also known as the ‘Seven Sisters.