Updated: April 28, 2022 10:22:19 pm
The Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata bus service was postponed, barely a few minutes before it was scheduled to commence on Thursday after a gap of two years, due to “technical issues”.
The international bus service, which was operational through Tripura’s Akhaura international check post, was suspended since March 2020 as the doors were closed for international passengers after the COVID pandemic hit the world.
Speaking to the media, Agartala Mayor Dipak Majumder, who is also the former chairman of state-run Tripura Road Transport Corporation (TRTC), said, “We were totally prepared to flag off the bus bound for Kolkata via Dhaka. However, the resumption of this service was postponed today (Thursday) due to some technical issues in the clearance process.”
The Mayor and Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner Arif Mohammad were both present at TRTC’s Krishnanagar international bus terminus to flag off the bus with 16 passengers.
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The Bangladeshi diplomat later told the media that authorities on both the sides of the border seemed to be “not well aware” of the decision to resume the international bus service.
He reiterated that both sides want to restart the bus service since there is a demand for it among the people of both the countries. The Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata bus service had a high demand among people when it was functional prior to 2020 since the route takes 19 hours, as against 35 hours on a train that plies through Guwahati in Assam and Siliguri in West Bengal.
TRTC Managing Director Rajesh Kumar Das had earlier on Wednesday said that travelling in the bus service would require a valid passport and visa and would undergo necessary immigration formalities at the International checkpost.
Other officials, who didn’t wish to be named, said the bus service is being offered at Rs 2,300 per head and would ply six days a week except Fridays.
As per reports from the local Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner’s office, around 500-600 applications are submitted daily for a visa to travel to the neighbouring country.
Most of these visa requests are for tourism or meeting relatives in Bangladesh as many of the Indian citizens living in Tripura are those who migrated during the Partition or before the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Tripura shares an 856-km-long international border with Bangladesh, parts of which are still unfenced due to local disputes.
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