After the inauguration of the direct Dhaka-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus services, five more cities will soon be connected to Kolkata and Siliguri in the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal.
A senior official on Wednesday said Bangladesh and India have planned to open more routes to connect Kolkata with several cities in Bangladesh, after the historic connectivity accord was inked last week.
Bangladesh inked several accords with India, during the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka, which opened up new horizons in road transportation between the two neighbouring countries.
Officials in Dhaka and Delhi have agreed in principal to launch direct bus services on Chittagong-Kolkata, Khulna-Kolkata, Rajshahi-Kolkata routes and open another route from Dhaka-Shiliguri via Bangla Bandh.
It is hoped that the bus routes will be launched within this year, Chairman of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) Mizanur Rahman said.
Meanwhile, the bus fares for Dhaka-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala routes have not been finalised.
The officials of the transport operating organisations of both the countries will soon sit to fix the bus fares.
One other major problem is the issuance of Bangladesh visa to Indian passengers travelling from Guwahati and Shilong. The passengers from Guwahati and Shilong cannot apply for visa in the absence of Bangladesh Consulate Office in Guwahati, the state capital of Assam. Similarly, the passengers from Bangladesh willing to travel to India have to wait for a long time to get travel visa.
Unless the visa issue is sorted out and the bus fare agreed, the Dhaka-Guwahati and Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus services will not commence service soon.
The BRTC chairman, however, said the plying of the buses is not uncertain and assured that it will be resolved by the end of this month.
These inter-country bus travel experience will immensely contribute to planning future opening of bus routes to Bhutan and Nepal.
Additional Secretary Mizanur Rahman said the bus passengers will need port entry visa, when the buses begin rolling for Nepal and Bhutan, otherwise the routes will remain a dream.