GUWAHATI, July 14 - Even after nearly four years have elapsed since the official announcement was made, the Assam government is still struggling to fix a specific timeline to start the ambitious Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka bus service, a project envisaged as a stepping stone to improved Indo-Bangla relationship.
Ironically, unlike Assam, neighbouring state Meghalaya has already started the bus operation to Dhaka.
Further, with the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) scheduled to be published on July 31, there is a slim chance of the bus service getting a go-ahead in the near future, given the political hullabaloo that may arise.
To add insult to injury, the office of the Assistant High Commissioner, Bangladesh in Guwahati too has become
virtually non-functional with no one at the helm of affairs. After its first-ever Assistant High Commissioner was transferred, the office is yet to get a replacement.
Further, the Assam transport department, despite taking part in several rounds of meeting, has not been able to fix the fare for the bus trip. The last meeting was held in Kolkata where officials from Assam and Bangladesh participated. �There is no clear word on the bus service. Meghalaya, which was seen as the stumbling block for many in the entire chain, has edged out Assam,� official sources told The Assam Tribune.
ASTC Managing Director AP Tiwari, when contacted, said that it might take another two-three months to streamline the nitty-gritty of the proceedings. He, however, did concede that the travel fare remains to be fixed.
The 500-km Guwahati-Shillong-Dhaka route, if it becomes a reality, will cross the international border at Dawki-Tamabil and reach Dhaka via Sylhet.