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What is the history of Maitree Express plying between Kolkata and Dhaka (Bangladesh)?  
2 Answers
Aug 01 2011 (1:25PM)
General

Entry# 398     
Azhar S Shaikh DD*^~
What is the history of Maitree Express plying between Kolkata and Dhaka (Bangladesh)?

Oct 05 2011 (3:53PM)
News Entry# 41258  Knotty provision in Indian visa cuts down BD train travellers  
Posted by: rdb*^   Added by: rdb*^  Oct 05 2011 (3:54PM)
Complexities of the visa issuance system by the Indian authorities have resulted in thinning out of passengers of the Maitree Express train, that runs between Dhaka and Kolkata directly, officials have said.A meeting at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Sunday took stock of the situation regarding the trend of passengers travelling by the 'friendship train', which made its debut on April 14, 2008.While issuing visas to people, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka mentions that passengers who travel to Kolkata by railway must have to return to Dhaka by using the same mode of transport.They will not be allowed to return to Dhaka from Kolkata by bus, air or other modes of travel.The Maitree Express runs twice a week, Wednesday and Friday from Dhaka, and Tuesday and Saturday from Kolkata. Passengers can book only one-way tickets upon presenting the passport and visa. "The passengers feel uncertain whether they will get...
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tickets on time when they want to return. If they cannot avail tickets for the days set in advance, they will have to remain stranded in Kolkata for at least three more days," the meeting at the PMO was told. "That is why the people feel less comfortable with travelling by the Maitree Express, resulting in the decrease in the number of its passengers."The meeting was told that passengers did not find it convenient to board the train at the Cantonment station. They demand the starting point of Maitree Express at Kamalapur station. The meeting at the PMO also discussed the passenger-carrying capacity of the trains running between the two neighbouring countries. "If necessary, with increased pressure of passengers, additional compartments can be added to the trains as was done late last month after the rush due to the ongoing Durga Puja of the Hindu community," it observed.Sources said the railway officials have been asked to examine the possibility of carrying out customs and immigration procedures on board the train concerned to reduce travel time. Using of tickets of one train for another was also discussed at the meeting.Introduction of a stoppage of Maitree Express at Ishwardi station with ticketing facilities was also discussed at the meeting as people of that area have raised the demand. The railway authorities have been asked to examine their security arrangement, sources said.Started in 2008, the two neighbours have renewed the agreement for running the Maitree Express between Dhaka and Kolkata for three more years in May this year.The train travels around 375 kilometres to reach Dhaka from Kolkata. There are two stoppages for immigration checking, one is at Gede (Indian side) and another is at Darshana (Bangladesh side).The train takes around 10 hours and 50 minutes to reach Dhaka from Kolkata and 11 hours and 45 minutes in the opposite direction.

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Jul 31 2011 (8:05PM)
Blog Post# 213144-0     
SMJ*   Added by: Azhar S Shaikh DD*^~  Aug 01 2011 (1:25PM)
History of Maitree Express.... [13109 / 13110 ].
The Maitree Express or Dhaka-Kolkata Express is a passenger train serving the railway connecting the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and India's West Bengal province's capital Kolkata and it is the only railway link between the cities of the two nations and has been revived after being closed for 43 years.The name Maitree Express means the Friendship Express, denoting the significance of the train service to the foreign relations between India and Bangladesh. The inauguration of the train service was held on the occasion of the Bengali New Year April 14, 2008.
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2001, the two national governments agreed upon the railway train scheme during bilateral talks. The train service concept got a major boost during the visit of the Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Dhaka in February, 2007. On July 8, 2007 the first train ran from Kolkata to Dhaka in a test run, carrying Indian government officials who were to meet their Bangladeshi counterparts to finalise train schedules. In response to Indian security demands, a "box-fencing" system will be erected on either side on the no-man's land between the two countries.
On April 14, 2008, on the occasion of the Bengali New Year, the train was re-launched with fanfare; the flag-off ceremony for the first train leaving Kolkata from the Kolkata railway station in Chitpur was attended by dignitaries such as the Indian Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, the Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Liquat Ali Chowdhury. The Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee officially flagged-off the inaugural train from Kolkata, bound for Dhaka. Another train departed at the same time carrying passengers from Dhaka to Kolkata. But the 360-seater Calcutta-Dhaka Friendship Express on its inaugural run was carrying barely 65 passengers, including journalists and politicians. Indian railway officials state that the train service was launched hurriedly, and that when information would spread there would be a greater response and passenger numbers. An official statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, "The agreement will strengthen bilateral relations and provide an alternative mode of passenger transport."
The Maitree Express is the only train which runs between Kolkata (in India) and Dhaka (in Bangladesh).It runs twice in a week from each side.The train travels around 375 kilometers to reach Dhaka from Kolkata.There are two stoppages for immigration checking, one is Gede (Indian side) and another is Darshana (Bangladesh side).It takes around 10 hours and 50 minutes to reach Dhaka from Kolkata and 11 hours and 45 minutes in reverse order.
The development of the Kolkata-Dhaka train service is akin to that of the Samjhauta Express (also meaning "Friendship" or "Accord" Express), which connects the Indian capital Delhi to Lahore in Pakistan. Both train services were opened to revive rail links between the countries that were disrupted by the partition of India in 1947, and both have been used as symbols of goodwill and cooperation between India and Bangladesh, and India and Pakistan.
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