Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday flagged off a 'goodwill' rail rake carrying 2200 tonnes of high speed diesel from Siliguri in West Bengal to Bangladesh.The consignment, an outcome of discussions between the two governments, was sent by Siliguri Marketing Terminal of Numaligarh Refinery Ltd to Parbatipur storage depot of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).Pradhan is Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas. From Siliguri, the 42-wagon consignment will travel over 516 km on the existing railway line via Rangapani, Singabad, Rohanpur to Parbatipur, where it will be received by Bangladesh's energy minister Nasrul Hamid on Saturday.A Numaligarh Refinery spokesman said the consignment is a gesture of friendship and cooperation that exists between India and Bangladesh. "During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June 2015, both India and Bangladesh welcomed the Sale-Purchase Agreement signed between NRL and BPC for construction of a pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur for supply of high speed diesel to Bangladesh," said the spokesman.
During the Prime Minister's visit, it was also agreed to jointly work towards implementation of the 135 km 'Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline', a project with a capacity to carry 1 MMTPA from Siliguri terminal to Parbatipur depot of BPC.The export of petroleum products from India to Bangladesh is also in line with the 'Neighbourhood First Policy' of the government of India to boost trade between the two countries and sub-regional cooperation within South Asia.Bangladesh meets its requirement of petroleum products through imports at Chittagong port. The products are subsequently transported to the rest of the country using river route. Once the Numaligarh Refinery's expansion from present 3 MMTPA to 9 MMTPA is complete, India will be in a position to export petroleum products on a regular and long term basis to Bangladesh.Prior to the construction of the pipeline, the rail rake mode is considered an effective way of supplying fuel from India to Bangladesh with minimum loss and pollution.