Print Edition - 2015-01-20 | MONEY
Kathmandu-Dhaka direct bus services planned
Jan 19, 2015-
“We have agreed in principle to start the bus service this year, but we need to have a separate understanding with India. We have prepared a letter of exchange with the southern neighbour. If it agrees to let us use its territory that separates Nepal and Bangladesh for the bus service, the scheme will materialize,” said a senior Nepali official privy to the development.
In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of Nepali students studying in Bangladesh and people travelling in either direction.
“If India agrees and the route clearance is given, we will start the service. However, Nepal has not been seriously discussing the proposal because it is waiting for India’s approval,” said the official.
The distance between Kathmandu and Dhaka is more than 1,184 km, and the bus journey is expected to take 24 hours.
The proposed route extends from Dhaka to Banglabandha (510 km), Banglabandha to Kakkarbhitta, Nepal via Panitanki (56 km) and Kakkarbhitta to Kathmandu (618 km). The trip from Kakkarbhitta to Kathmandu takes around 11 hours.
Nepal has been discussing the use of the Fulbari-Banglabandha route for trade with Bangladesh and the port city of Chittagong.
Meanwhile, India has started building the necessary infrastructure for an immigration office at Fulbari Land Port in India across the border from Banglabandha Land Port in Bangladesh in a bid to ease transport, trade, transit and connectivity.
According to a Bangladeshi newspaper, the Daily Star, around 4,500 students from Nepal are currently studying in Bangladesh, and the number is increasing every year.
Last year, more than 700 Nepali students came to Bangladesh to pursue higher education, mostly in medicine and engineering, and most of them travelled by bus. Similarly, around 26,000 Bangladeshi tourists visited Nepal in 2013.
Nepal and Bangladesh had agreed to finalize an agreement on establishing direct bus services in July 2012 at a foreign secretary-level meeting. However, without a dedicated bilateral agreement between Nepal and India on the use of Indian territory, the plan could not make headway.
The two sides had also signed an agreement on the Carriage of Transit Cargo which will help Nepal to gain access to Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh.
Published: 20-01-2015 12:54