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Thar Express enters Pak

Jaipur, August 19
The first Thar Express operated by Indian Railways crossed the border into Pakistan today after a delay of more than six hours at Munabao station in Rajasthanís Barmer awaiting clearance from Pakistan railway authorities.

The train was scheduled to depart at 1030 hrs but was held up till it received clearance around 1700 hrs and rumbled into Pakistanís zero point railway station, 2.4 km away, 15 minutes later.

Jodhpur Divisional Manager A.K. Khanna told PTI over the telephone that one of the reasons given for the delay was that custom and immigration clearances of passengers could not be completed on time.

Todayís train is the first after India took charge of this service at the end of six months from its launch in February. Under the bilateral agreement, the service would be operated by each side for six months. The Pakistani train had ferried passengers between Khokhrapar and Munabao until now.

Meanwhile, sources added that North Western Railway had to add two more coaches to the existing seven to carry an extra 160 Pakistani passengers whose visas were close to expiry, taking the total number of passengers to 560.

Earlier, both the sides had agreed to restrict the number of passengers to 400, the sources added. óPTI

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