The first ever bus service from India to Nepal was flagged off today to provide an alternative mode of travel to commuters from the two countries, with the government promising similar services for other SAARC nations.
The bus was flagged off by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari here at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Kathmandu to attend 18th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit from November 26-27.
While Modi has promised to foster better ties with neighbours, there are expectations that some concrete agreements could be inked during his current Nepal visit in the areas of connectivity and development cooperation.
Launching the luxury bus service from the Indian side at Ambedkar Stadium, which will be run by Delhi Transport Corporation and would take 30 hours to reach from Delhi to Kathmandu, Gadkari said: “India and Nepal share old cultural ties, which will be further strengthened. There are over one lakh retired military persons who get their pensions in Nepal.”
Terming the occasion “historic”, he said, “Government is working to launch similar services for other SAARC nations. Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung was present on the occasion.
This is the second international bus service being operated by the DTC, which has been running Delhi-Lahore International service since 1999.
DTC will run a Volvo and Mercedes buses daily on the Delhi-Kathmandu route, which will cover a distance of 1,250 km to reach Kathmandu in 30 hours from Delhi. The fare of the bus has been kept Rs 2,300 per passenger.
It will travel via Yamuna Express Highway, Agra, Firozabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Sunauli. Thereafter, it will enter Nepal territory to reach Kathmandu.
The service will be a direct one and will neither pick up nor drop any passenger anywhere in between. A provision of advance booking has been kept. The passengers will have to carry proof of identification while purchasing the ticket.
The Cabinet had earlier approved the signing of bilateral agreement for the regulation of passenger traffic between India and Nepal on the sidelines of the Summit.