Another meeting, but no date yet for train to Dhaka

Written by Economy Bureau | Kolkata, Jul 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2007, 05:28am hrs
While Bangladesh Rail awaits the green signal from the caretaker government in its country, the last bilateral meeting between the railway ministries of India and Bangladesh could not decide on a date for the Kolkata-Dhaka passenger train service.

So another meeting between the two countries --- at the home secretaries level ---- will be held on Wednesday in New Delhi. The meeting is expected to address security concerns like customs and immigration infrastructure.

AE Ahmed, additional secretary of the ministry of home affairs, said: "The deadline is clear, as soon as possible."

According to a railway ministry official, India has started developing infrastructure at Gede, the last station on the Indian side, while preparations at the other end are yet to pick up.

ATKM Ismail, additional secretary of Bangladesh's ministry of communications, said, "we are making preparations at our side but I have to admit, your preparation is better than ours."

"So when I get back, I will try to make some adjustments and some physical infrastructure improvements, so that train service begins early," he said. Bangladesh is aiming to complete the infrastructure by mid-September.

Apart from that, issues relating to the security concerns are yet to be ironed out. "Customs and immigration infrastructure at Darsana is not yet complete," Ahmed said.

Rail tracks have always been a soft target for the terrorist organisations in India. "We will have to ensure that the passenger service does not run into disrepute due to undesired elements," Ahmed said.

The train named 'Moitree Express" is scheduled to run between Kolkata and Dhaka twice a week.