Agartala, May 15 (IANS): India might operate direct bus services soon between the northeastern States and Kolkata via Bangladesh to ferry people easily from the mountainous region, a top official said on Friday.
"A meeting was held in the road transport and highways ministry in New Delhi on Thursday and some modalities were finalised to operate direct bus services between the northeastern States and Kolkata via Bangladesh...," a ministry official told IANS from New Delhi by phone.
The official refusing to be named said: "Now the Indian Surface Transport Minister would soon hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart to finalise the modalities. The issue might take a final shape before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh next month."
Tripura government officials also attended the meeting.
Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey refusing to give details of Thursday's meeting, said that Tripura has been demanding direct bus services between Tripura and other northeastern states and Kolkata via Bangladesh for easy movement of people of the northeastern region to other parts of India.
He told IANS: "To introduce the direct passenger bus services between Tripura and Kolkata via Dhaka, a high level first meeting was held in Kolkata on March 10, 2010."
"That meeting had finalised various technicalities of the proposed bus services. Officials of foreign, surface transport ministries, government transporters' bodies and other officials were present in that meeting," Dey said.
The minister said the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry had confirmed about the bus service to the Tripura government on December 13, 2011 but after that there was no progress in this regard.
Meanwhile, after a four-month suspension, the Tripura government owned Tripura Road Transport Corporation (TRTC) resumed its Agartala-Dhaka bus service from Friday.
"In view of the political turmoil in Bangladesh, the TRTC had suspended its bus service since January. However, the Bangladesh government-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) was running its bus service almost as per schedule during this period," TRTC's managing director RM Malakar told IANS.
"Currently, the Agartala-Dhaka and Dhaka-Agartala bus services are being run four days a week and the periodicity is likely to be increased due to the demand of the Kolkata-bound passengers," the official added.