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Disused railway lines between India, Bangladesh to be restored

Sunday April 24, 2011 07:30:02 PM, IANS

New Delhi: India and Bangladesh have agreed to restore railway links in a bid to enhance people-to-people contact and boost bilateral trade and investments.

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka Sunday to discuss the issue.

"Both sides agreed that serious efforts are needed to restore the railway lines that went into disuse after 1965 war," a statement from the Indian commerce and industry ministry said here.

The rail services was suspended after the 1965 India-Pakistan war when Bangladesh was then Pakistan's eastern wing.

The two sides propose to build a 13-km railway line between Agartala (India) and Akhaurah (Bangladesh).

Of the 13-km proposed link railway line to connect with the Bangladesh railway network through Akhaurah railway station, 5.4 km falls in Indian territory and the remaining portion in Bangladesh.

Sharma, who is on a two-day official visit to Dhaka, offered financial assistance in the form of buyer's credit for Indian projects in Bangladesh which would enhance competitiveness of Indian investors.

India has also offered to renew export of 300,000 tonnes of par-boiled rice, rice boiled in the husk, to Bangladesh and finalise options for lifting of the grain at the earliest.

Shrama said private sector investment from India to Bangladesh to the tune of $3.5 billion was in the pipeline.

"Increased Indian investments in Bangladesh will provide employment and value addition for Bangladesh exports to the rest of the world," he said.

India has offered many trade concession to Bangladesh. It include, enhanced tariff-free quota of 10 million pieces of apparel exports from Bangladesh, marking an increase of 25 percent over previous years, lifting of countervailing duties on Bangladesh Jute items, strengthening of infrastructure at borders, including construction of Land Custom Stations and Integrated Check Posts, particularly at Petrapole and Agartala such that trade is facilitated.






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