A flag-off ceremony for starting regular Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service under the provisions of Motor Vehicle Agreement was conducted at Dasharath Stadium. Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi and Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae flagged off the bus service.
The Nepalese registered ceremonial bus will follow the route Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Sunauli-Azamgarh-Varanasi. The bus would be covering about 600 kms during its journey of about 12 hours.
We are happy to note that the flagging-off ceremony of Kathmandu-Varanasi-Kathmandu bus service coincided with the flag-off of the first Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally which was conducted on the same day on 5th March 2015. Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Purushottam Paudel and Ambassador of India to Nepal Ranjit Rae flagged off the Motor Rally.
According to a press release issued by Indian Embassy, another regular bus operated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) from Varanasi to Kathmandu through the same route was also flagged-off from Varanasi by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. UPSRTC has fixed the ticket cost of Varanasi to Kathmandu bus at about Indian Rupees 1300.
The start of regular bus service between Kathmandu and Varanasi is expected to enhance people to people contact and further strengthen ties between people of India and Nepal. The bus service is also likely to have a positive impact on the tourism industry as both Kathmandu and Varanasi are popular tourist destinations.
These buses are being started under the ambit of Motor Vehicle Agreement for regulation of passenger traffic between India and Nepal which was signed between the two Governments during the visit of Prime Minister of India to Kathmandu for SAARC Summit in November, 2014. Regular bus service on Kathmandu-Delhi-Kathmandu route is already operating since November. In the next phase Pokhara-Delhi-Pokhara route would be made operational for which consultation process between the officials of the two Governments is already underway.
To discuss the issues related to implementation of bilateral Motor Vehicle Agreement for regulation of passenger traffic, an Indian delegation from Ministry of Road Transport & Highways participated in a meeting with their counterparts in Ministry of Physical Infrastructure & Transport Government of Nepal on 4th March, 2015. The implementation of this bilateral agreement would facilitate seamless and hassle-free movement of people between India and Nepal.