>Dhaka-Kolkata train fails to attarct passengers

>LAUNCHED amid much enthusiasm and fanfare over a month ago, Dhaka-Kolkata passenger train service now sees not even one third of seat capacity of the carriages used. (Click fro full report)
Passengers attribute poor show of the Maitree Express service to long stops at the border stations–Darshana in Bangladesh and Gede in India–for immigration and customs formalities, twice-a-week only (Saturday-Sunday) schedule and hassles in ticket purchase in Kolkata.

Sources said necessary efforts to popularise the train service are yet to be made by the ministries concerned in both the countries, their business communities and cultural and tourism organisations, contributing to its present state.

Bangladesh officials however said the two countries have already worked out solutions to passenger sufferings and are making passenger-friendly schedule for the train service.

“We hope to see a rise in the number of passengers with some steps taken shortly,” ATKM Ismail, additional secretary of communications ministry, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Train service between Bangladesh and India, which was discontinued following the India-Pakistan war in 1965, resumed on April 14 after 43 years with two Maitree Express trains reaching Dhaka and Kolkata in the evening that day.


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