The service has been started under the Motor Vehicle Agreement between Nepal and India signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal for the 19th Saarc Summit last November.
Nepal’s Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi and Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae flagged off the bus service from near the Dashrath Stadium here. The Nepal-registered bus will travel on the Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Sunauli-Azamgarh-Varanasi route, covering the 600 km journey in about 12 hours.
The launch of the bus service coincided with the flag-off of the first Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally. Nepal’s Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Purushottam Paudel and Ambassador Rae flagged off the rally.
Another bus operated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) from Varanasi to Kathmandu along the same route was also flagged off from Varanasi by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday.
The UPSRTC has fixed the fare at Rs.1.300.
“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,” said a statement issued by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.
A bus service between Kathmandu and New Delhi has been operating since last November 25. In the next phase, a Pokhara-New Delhi bus service would be launched for which the consultation process between officials of the two countries is already underway.
To discuss issues related to implementing the bilateral Motor Vehicle Agreement, an Indian delegation from the ministry of road transport and highways held a meeting with their counterparts in Nepal’s ministry of physical infrastructure and transport on Wednesday.
The implementation of the bilateral agreement would facilitate seamless and hassle-free movement of people between India and Nepal, the Indian Embassy said in a statement.