BY DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 23 NOVEMBER
The two double decker buses which have been launched in the city of joy during this Durga Puja in a new avatar and look with open roof top sitting as already became a major tourism attraction, says state tourism minister Babul Supriyo.
At present the two double decker buses are plying in selected routes covering popular tourism attractions of Kolkata and operating thrice a week.
Talking to The Travel and Tourism Times, Babul Supriyo , tourism and IT Minister said that the two double decker have generated a lot of interest and enthusiasm amongst the foreigners, family and friends, army veterans, Mohammedan Sporting Club and even has been s booked in the Roadshow couple of days ago for the promotional activities upcoming bengali feature film ‘Prasenjit Weds Rituparna’ by the SVF productions in which actors Prasenjit Chatterjee was also present.
“ It is going great already. I myself was present at one point during promotion of the film and wished success to the SVF and Prasenjit Chatterjee for the film Prasenjit Weds Rituparna which will be released on 25 November ,”says Babul Supriyo. The promotional events took place at several places – Babughat, Nandan etc.
Prasenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta have paired in a Bengali feature film after a long time and have generated tremendous interest amongst the Bengali movie buffs. ” Kolkata witnesses an unique movie promotion on 21 November with open rooftop double decker bus and I thank the West Bengal government and the state tourism department for allowing us to utilise such an innovative movie promotional event,”said actor Prasenjit Chatterjee.
State tourism secretary, Dr. Saumitra Mohan said that with the inspirations of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to boost the tourism sector , two double decker buses have been launched in Kolkata as a special Durga Puja initiative this year for the festive season.
“ Joint families, tourists, organisations, corporates etc are booking the buses for package tours for picnics, family events, tourism purposes and promotional activities. Let the two double decker buses settle down for the next few more months then we will decide about the future plans,” said Dr. Saumitra Mohan.
Anil Punjabi, Chairman ( East) of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) said that the nice double decker bus will double add to the state’s tourism attractions, certainly tourists will love it but it needs to be maintained on a regular basis.
“ Another important factor will be to market it through authorised agents besides the official website. Every country has this attraction of open buses. We all know how popular the Hop On Hop off open roof
sitting arrangements double decker tourist buses are world over in cities like New York in USA, London in UK and in Madrid of Spain. Almost all important cities of the world have such tourist attractions to have a panoramic view by the tourists,” added Anil Punjabi.
Manav Soni, Chairman ( East) of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said that tourism is really being taken seriously in West Bengal and the department is making sure that the numbers increase and the services get upgraded periodically.
“ Another such excellent effort towards the growth is the new HOHO service and Kolkata Connect Double Decker Bus Service. With these two products available for all, Bengal is definitely aiming to boost Tourism. Both these products are good ,informative as well as pocket friendly,” explained Mr. Manav Soni.
Mr. Debjit Dutta,Chairman ( West Bengal) of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said that double decker bus service is an excellent initiative by the state tourism department started before the pandemic. This unique fixed root tourist coach service offers the opportunity to explore the architectural heritage along with some important landmarks across the central business district of Kolkata . ” I am very happy that the iconic double decker is back on the road with a more enhanced experience for the travellers coming to explore the life and culture of the city of joy. This is certainly one of the best products available for the tourists in the city with a very reasonable price tag,” said Mr. Debjit Dutta.
Two double decker buses started plying at Kolkata for the tourists and were scheduled to hop from one puja pandal to another. Twenty six people can sit in the two floors and on the rooftop arrangements have been made so that the passengers can sit under umbrellas.
The buses started plying on the designated route from 11 AM to 6 PM , which started at Cathedral Road ( Near Ravindra Sadan) and proceeds to Victoria Memorial – Princep Ghat – St. John’s Church – Dacres Lane – Jorasanko- Thakurbari Gate at C.R. Avenue.
The ticket per person was only Rs.50 and standing on the bus is prohibited. From 27 September to 10 October these buses ply for the Durga Puja Carnival.
Over 20,000 foreigners and NRIs ( Visiting Friends and Relatives) have visited Kolkata for the mega Durga Puja Carnival this year , the first time after the UNESCO cultural World heritage tag of the biggest carnival of the state.
It is believed that in the years to come the Durga Puja carnival in Kolkata will become more popular and will surpass the world famous Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil.