AGARTALA, Jan 28 (IANS) - New Delhi and Dhaka may soon introduce a direct bus service from this capital of Tripura to Kolkata via Bangladesh, a minister said here Friday.
A five-member team of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) Friday held a meeting with Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey and other Indian officials to discuss the issue.
"If the direct bus service is introduced between Agartala and Kolkata via Bangladesh, it will greatly benefit people in the mountainous northeastern states," Dey told IANS.
"After holding meeting with the Tripura government, the Bangladeshi officials will go to Kolkata to hold similar meetings with West Bengal government officials."
The Kolkata-Dhaka and Agartala-Dhaka bus services already connect the two countries.
The Kolkata-Dhaka bus service, the first direct surface communication between the two neighbouring countries, was initiated in July 1999 while the Agartala-Dhaka bus service was launched in September 2003.
The northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China. The only land route accessible to these states from India is through the 'Chicken neck corridor' (or Siliguri corridor in West Bengal) and Assam. But this route passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends making the journey and transportation very difficult, time consuming and expensive.
"The proposed direct bus service with Kolkata via Bangladesh would not only benefit the people of all the seven northeastern states, it would also boost the trade and economy between the region and the neighbouring countries," the minister said.