HC’s Speech at the Laying of the Foundation Stone to Establish Rail link from Chilahati till the Border on 21st September, 2019 চলমান ঘটনাবলী

২১ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১৯ চিলাহাটি থেকে সীমান্ত পর্যন্ত রেলপথ নির্মাণের ভিত্তিপ্রস্তর স্থাপন অনুষ্ঠানে হাই কমিশনারের বক্তব্য

High Commission of India


HC’s Speech at the Laying of the Foundation Stone to Establish Rail link from Chilahati till the Border on 21st September, 2019

Your Excellency, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, Railway Minister, Honorable Member of Parliament Mr.AsaduzzamanNur, Honorable Member of Parliament AftabUddinSarkar.

2. It gives me immense pleasure to be here on the occasion of laying of the foundation stone to establish broad gauge rail link from Chilahati till the border. This will help revive a traditional train link which existed before 1965.TheSealdah-Ranaghat-Bheramara-HardingeBridge-Iswardi-Santahar-Hili-Parabtipur-Nilphamari-Haldibari-Jalpaiguri-Siliguri train route was operational in the pre-partition days and Darjeeling Mail ran on this route. I am happy that we are reviving this cross border rail link and connectivity which is a natural extension of the historical connections we have had for centuries.

3. As you all know, India-Bangladesh relations today are better than ever. Under the leadership of Prime Minister NarendraModi and Prime Minister, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, our ties have entered what the former described as a SonaliAdhyay.

4. Bangladesh has done exceedingly well on both social and economic fronts over the last ten years. With GDP growth rate of around 8% and having met the criteria to graduate from the LDC status, Bangladesh is poised to become a middle income country in a few years. As a neighbor and friend, we take pride in your achievements. We have been privileged to be a part of your journey from 1971 till date. Our common struggle for the liberation of Bangladesh and great sacrifice in that pursuit will continue to inspire us to work together for the better future of the common people of both countries – we are also fellow travelers on the road to development.

5. In the last few years, close to 90 agreements including in high-tech areas, such as space, IT, electronics, cyber security and civil nuclear energy have been signed between India and Bangladesh and the Prime Ministers have inaugurated 16 development cooperation projects, including construction of Bhairab and Titas bridges; additional supply of 660 MW electricity, Akhaura-Agartala rail line. Our bilateral trade today stands at close to US$ 10 billion. The border-haats, a unique set-up between our countries have made it easier for the people living at the borders to trade with each other. In recognition of the contribution and sacrifices of gallant Muktijodhas, free treatment in Indian Army hospitals, five year visas and Muktijodha scholarship has been started.

6. India is also a committed development partner of Bangladesh, and we have provided US$ 8 billion in concessional financing to Bangladesh underthree Lines of Credit. This is the largest amount of concessional credit India has given to any single country which demonstrates that India accords highest priority to relations with Bangladesh. The projects covered under these Lines of Credit will help improve infrastructure in Bangladesh in sectors like ports, power, railways, roads and airports. We have also undertaken a project in the IT field under the Line of Credit under which IT/Hi-Tech Parks will be set up in 12 districts of Bangladesh at a cost of US$ 206.14 million.

7. Railway Sector co-operation is a priority area in India-Bangladesh bilateral relation.There are four existing rail connectivities between India and Bangladesh on which passenger and freight trains are running. Apart from, Chilahati (Bangladesh)-Haldibari (India) rail link, work is in progress to open Shahbazpur (Bangladesh) -Mahisasan (India, Assam) andAkhaura-Agartala rail link.Reconnection of these old links and opening up of new links will further increase connectivity and trade between the two countries.

8. Amongst the investments in Line of credit, major share of our development partnership is with railway sector. Under line of Credit9 projects in Railways have been completed including construction of Bhairab and Titas bridges. The other projects are under various stages of progress. I am sure,upon completion these infrastructure related projects will enhance the quality of life of citizens.

9. Promoting economic integration and fostering linkages and connectivity between our two countries through cross-border transport and trade is a policy priority for us.

10. The inauguration today of the rail link between Chilahati and Haldibari is an important step in the direction of bringing our two countries closer. This rail link will not only integrate our infrastructure, but also play a vital role in getting our economies more integrated and our people better connected and will be of direct benefit to people of both our countries.

11. I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to His Excellency Md. Nurul Islam Sujan, Railway Minister, and the railway fraternity for steadfastly anchoring cooperation between our two countries. I look forward to even greater cooperation for the benefit of the people of our two countries.

Thank You.