Indians reluctant to use Kolkata-Agartala route thru Bangladesh

| Updated: October 23, 2017 19:07:25

Indians reluctant to use Kolkata-Agartala route thru Bangladesh


Two years since opening of Kolkata-Agartala route through Bangladesh, very little traffic has come this way and none of prophecies made by Indian and Bangladesh have been fulfilled.

Since June 6, 2015, three bus services a week have been running through Bangladesh, but the buses are never carrying more than five or six passengers at a time, according to a report by scroll.in.


An Indian news portal reported that Indian travellers had little interest in travelling between the two cities by bus through Dhaka.


Policymakers from both countries expected the service to be a major hit among travellers since the new route bisected Bangladesh, instead of skirting around the country through the Siliguri corridor or ‘chicken’s neck’ of India.


This brought the Agartala-Kolkata road distance down to 500km from 1,650km.



Recently, however, the service was suspended for 90 days without anyone raising a complaint.


A Indian Road Transport and Highways Division official explained how the long break to the route in Dhaka might be repelling potential users of the service.


“Currently buses start in the morning from Kolkata and arrive in Dhaka in the evening, although it is a six to seven hour route, immigration at Benapole-Petrapole takes 1.5 to 2 hours,” he said.


“The passengers are then kept in a hotel in Dhaka and the next day they start towards Tripura. This is a four-hour journey but again immigration increases the travel time at the Akhaura port, bringing the total travel time up to about 30 hours.”


In contrast, the Siliguri route takes about 35 hours so for Indian passengers the trade-off is not very high.


Without the lengthy intervals, the whole journey through Bangladesh would be about 15 hours, but that is not always possible due to shortage of passengers.


Another factor is that airfare between the two cities is only a little higher than the bus fare and takes only an hour. The bus fare is Tk2,550, and airfare can range between Tk2,800 and Tk4,000.


Most passengers take the Dhaka-Kolkata or Dhaka-Agartala route, so Agartala-bound trips get only five or six people against the capacity of 45 seats per bus.

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