First trial run of Kolkata–Dhaka–Agartala bus service was completed on Tuesday as a prelude to its formal inauguration by the Prime Ministers of Indian and Bangladesh. A bus of West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation carrying senior officials of West Bengal government and Bangladesh reached Agartala in the afternoon.
Mayor of Agartala Municipal Corporation, Prafullajit Sinha, and senior Tripura government officials were present on the momentous occasion at Akhaura border. Alapan Bandopadhyay, Principle Secretary of West Bengal government was leading his team.
Three joint secretaries of Bangladesh government and senior transport operators boarded the bus today after the bus made an overnight stay in Dhaka. The bus carrying image of emblems of Bangladesh and India is named Sauharddo (Amity).
Tripura Road Transport Authority would conduct the second trial run to Kolkata on Wednesday, informed state’s Transport Minister Manik Dey. He said eight officials would travel in the bus to reach Kolkata on Thursday after a night halt in Dhaka.
The much awaited direct bus service is expected to commence soon. Officials said a surface transport protocol for Agartala–Dhaka-Kolkata, Dhaka-Syleth–Shillong–Guwahati and Khulna (Bangladesh)– Kolkata will be signed between two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stay in Dhaka.
Officials said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would jointly flag off the bus service in Dhaka on June 6 or 7. They said a bus of West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation meant for the purpose would travel to Dhaka on June 4 for detail security inspection.
“The trial run reflects growing bilateral cooperation between two neighbouring countries”, Abdur Rouf Khan, Joint Secretary of Bangladesh Transport Ministry told newsmen. He along with other colleagues attended a meeting with West Bengal and Tripura government officials to finalise journey fare and frequency of services.
Tripura government urged all stakeholders to fix the fare between Rs1,000 and Rs. 1,200 while West Bengal wants Rs. 2,000 per passenger. The meeting left the issue for further discussion.