KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday flagged off the bus service from here to Agartala via Dhaka. The service will commence once Prime Minister Narendra Modi signs an agreement with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, during his two-day tour of the neighbouring country beginning on Saturday.
And the inaugural function took place at state Secretariat Nabannna in the presence of Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Zokey Ahad.
The bus will reach Dhaka on Friday morning and halt there before proceeding to Agartala. However, the bus will return only after the agreement is inked by the countries’ Prime Ministers.
The route connecting the West Bengal capital with Tripura’s capital through Indian soil is 1,675 km-long and the journey will take around 36 hours. However, the 350 km-long journey via Dhaka will take not more than 16 hours. Since Bangladeshis are also expected to avail the service for travelling to Agartala and Kolkata, it is expected to be economically viable. Though there is an existing Kolkata-Dhaka bus service, it has not proved a hit with majority of the commuters.
The trial run of the new service was conducted this week-- the bus left for Agartala on Monday and returned on Wednesday. West Bengal Transport Secretary Alapon Bandyopadhyay was among those, who travelled on board the bus. He also held talks with the Tripura government to finalise the fare. The bus will depart from here on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will return from Agartala on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.