Bangladesh crisis hits bus services with India

Posted By: IANS
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Agartala, Feb 7: The month-long political crisis in Bangladesh has hit bus services between the two countries and bilateral trade, officials said here Saturday.

"The Dhaka-Agartala bus service has been completely stopped since last week. The Dhaka-Kolkata bus services were also become irregular due to the political turmoil in Bangladesh," a Tripura Road Transport Corporation (TRTC) official said.

Bangladesh-India border

He said: "We do not know when the bus services would be normalise. Due to the political violence in Bangladesh the operators are reluctant to run the bus services between the two countries."

The Tripura government-owned TRTC and the Bangladesh government run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) have been operating the Agartala-Dhaka bus service.

The TRTC had stopped its bus service for the past one month while the BRTC stopped the service last week.

The Agartala-Dhaka bus service started in September 2003 while the Kolkata-Dhaka bus service was introduced in July 1999.

"Currently, the Agartala-Dhaka and Dhaka-Agartala bus services being on run four days a week. The TRTC and BRTC have been considering increasing the periodicity amid pressure of Kolkata-bound passengers," the TRTC official said.

The transportation via Bangladesh is much easier as road connectivity is a big factor for the mountainous northeastern states which share boundaries with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and China.

Agartala via Guwahati is 1,650 km from Kolkata by road and 2,637 km from New Delhi, while the distance between Agartala and Kolkata via Bangladesh is just about 350 km.

"Due to the crisis of aircrafts and mounting increase of the fare of air tickets, people from the northeastern states prefer to go to Kolkata and other places of India via Bangladesh," the official added.

Political chaos in Bangladesh has also affected the trade between the two countries.

"Due to the reduction in the trade between Bangladesh and northeastern states, traders across the borders have been largely losing business," Agartala Exporters-Importers Association general secretary Habul Biswas told IANS.

"Normally, 200 goods laden trucks from Bangladesh came to Akhaura checkpost near Agartala city. The number of trucks reduced to half. Hundreds of labourers involve in the trade are also becoming jobless," Biswas added.

He said the fear-stricken Bangladeshi truck drivers are reluctant to carry goods from Bangladesh to northeastern states in day hours. However, some goods laden trucks are being plied at late nights braving the security threat.

India's four northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam share 1,880-km border with Bangladesh and have several border trade points along this frontier.

Opposition parties led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have launched an indefinite countrywide blockade to protest the first anniversary of the controversial parliamentary elections held Jan 5, 2014.

Since Jan 5, many people have been killed and properties and a large number of vehicles have been damaged in the nationwide political violence.


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