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The government has proposed to increase freight train operations to Bangladesh and Nepal to boost trade through rail.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronic & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw said various steps have been taken to increase the number of freight trains to Bangladesh and Nepal. However, the running of such trains depends upon demand from trade and capacity in these countries to receive and handle the freight trains.

“Although, there is no set target for increasing share of trade through rail, various steps have been taken for increasing freight trains to Bangladesh and Nepal like increase in interchange points for running freight trains; diversification of cargo and use of different types of wagons; assistance in development of rail infrastructure in these countries; amendments to Rail Service Agreements for running freight trains; etc.," the minister said in his written answer.

Freight trains are already running from India to Bangladesh and Nepal. The number of freight trains for Bangladesh has grown from 660 in FY20 to 1395 in FY22 up to February. In case of Nepal, freight train operations have largely remained static at around 1,000.

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