In the midst of uneasiness in India-Nepal relations, a friendship bus service between the two countries was restarted today after a gap of 27 years, much to the delight of people on either side of the border who have family and trade ties with each other.
The bus, which runs between Kanchanpur in Nepal close to Banbasa border in Champavat district of Uttarakhand and Delhi, was regularised from today after a trial for a week, said B M Upreti, In-charge of Sharda barrage international police station.
The service had been suspended 27 years back in the wake of the Indo-Nepal Trade and Transit Treaty, he said.
Resumption of the service between the two countries after its prolonged suspension has been welcomed by locals on either side of the border as about eight to ten thousand Nepalis travel in these buses on a daily basis from Kanchanpur district, Dandel Dhura, Voti, Sapen, Acham, Kalali, Jagbuddha and Siddhartha Nagar areas in Nepal, he said.
The resumption of the bus service marks a positive step amidst the uneasiness in India-Nepal ties since the adoption of new Constitution by Nepal.
Adoption of the new Constitution led to widespread agitation by Indian-origin Madhesis and resulted in a blockade of supply lines from India, which angered Nepal.
Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli on December 31 called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said he was always in favour of easing Indo-Nepal border trading points and asserted that India was not creating any obstructions in the movement in the border checkpoint.
The air conditioned buses with Indian and Nepalese flags painted on their bodies will enter the Nepalese district of Kanchanpur at 6 AM every day and start for Delhi from there at 6 PM every evening, Upreti said.
No special documents are required to travel in these buses which provides free wi-fi connectiviy and a bottle of mineral water for free to the passengers, he said.
The income from the area’s Tanakpur depot is also considered one of the major sources of income for Uttarakhand Parivahan Nigam, the official said.
People on both sides of the border have family as well as trade relations with each other and they are very happy about the resumption of the service after long years of suspension, he said.