Thousands queue up for train to Bangladesh

April 12th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, April 12 (IANS) It was only the second day Saturday of ticket sales for the India-Bangladesh Moitree (Friendship) Express and all the AC First Class tickets were sold out. Then the visa queue kept getting longer. Around 2,000 people queued outside the ticket counter for eastern railways at Fairley Place in central Kolkata.

Eastern railway spokesperson Sameer Goswami told IANS: “Today (Saturday) by noon all 27 AC First Class tickets have been sold out.

“Ticket sales Friday was delayed due to official formalities. Even then 22 tickets for AC First Class, five tickets for AC Chair car were sold on the first day.

“Sunday the sales are expected to be the highest. Seeing the growing demand for the tickets, it seems that many (may) have to return empty-handed.”

Ticket sales for the Moitree Express, which will resume service Monday after 43 years - began Friday in Kolkata.

The tickets priced at $8 and $20 can be bought with Indian currency as well. The counters are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There was a queue of around 4,000 visa-applicants outside the Bangladesh deputy high commissioner’s office at Park Street in south Kolkata, the same building from which history was made in 1971 when it was the first to fly the flag of new Bangladesh.

Uday Krishna Roy, a visa applicant, told IANS: “I have to take frequent business trips to Bangladesh. Going by train is cheaper than flying. This train is a boon for cross-border communication.”

The train will run every weekend between Chitpur Station in Kolkata and Cantonment Station in Dhaka through the Darshana border.

The supplementary deal between the two countries on the commissioning of the cross-border passenger train was signed Wednesday.

The 538-km journey will cover 418 km in Bangladesh and 120 km in India. The train from Dhaka has a capacity of 418 passengers while that from Kolkata can accommodate 366.

Passenger train services between the two countries were suspended after a war between India and Pakistan in 1965, when Bangladesh was the eastern province of Pakistan. It became independent in 1971.

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