Siliguri, April 24 (IANS) Marking a fresh leap in vehicular communication among three neighbouring nations, two buses on trial run from Dhaka crossed over into India at Phulbari on way to Kathmandu on Tuesday.
A tumultuous welcome followed, as West Bengal government officials and commoners presented bouquets and ‘khadas’ to the 45 passengers – all but two of them bureaucrats and diplomats from the three nations – at the India-Bangladesh border.
Twenty five officials from Bangladesh, a dozen from India, six others representing Nepal, as also two Asian Development Bank executives, are making the 1,104 km journey that started from Dhaka on Monday.
On Wednesday morning, the bus will resume its journey from the north Bengal secretariat Uttar Kanya and reach Kathmandu on Thursday.
Phulbari was all decked up on the historic occasion. Shops and roads were decorated, and people stood on both sides of the roads to greet the guests. Conch shells were blown, petals showered and garlands exchanged.
The bus service follows from the Bangladesh Bhutan India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) inked on June 15, 2015 at the BBIN transport ministers meeting in Thimpu, Bhutan.
Though Bhutan is yet to ratify the agreement, India, Nepal and Bangladesh has already given the green nod.
The officials travelling by the buses would finalise the minutest details about the services.
Calling the initiative historic, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation Chairman Farid Ahmed Bhuniya said acethis service will strengthen the relations among the three countries.
The biggest benefit of the service is that tourists can make trips to all three countries with a single visa.
The fares, places for the night halt of the commuters, the location of the visa centres would be decided at talks between the officials of the three countries on Friday at Kathmandu.