Syllabus section: Economy/ Infrastructure Development
Why in news?
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh jointly inaugurated a railway link between Haldibari in India and Chilahati in Bangladesh during the PM level virtual bilateral summit recently.
About Haldibari – Chilahati rail link:
• The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link being made functional from 17.12.2020 is the 5th rail link between India and Bangladesh.
• The Haldibari – Chilahati rail link was operational till 1965. This was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri during partition. Trains traveling to Assam and North Bengal continued to travel through the then East Pakistan territory even after partition.
• For example, a train from Sealdah to Siliguri used to enter East Pakistan territory from Darshana and exit using the Haldibari – Chilahati link.
• However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links between India and the then East Pakistan.
• So on the Eastern Sector of India partition of the railways thus happened in 1965. So the importance of the reopening of this rail link can be well imagined.
Background of India – Bangladesh rail links
• The railway network of India and Bangladesh are mostly inherited from British Era Indian Railways. After partition in 1947, 7 rail links were operational between India and the then East Pakistan (up to 1965).
• Presently, there are 4 operational rail links between India and Bangladesh. They are, Petra pole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh), Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh).