BY DEBASHREE CHAKRABORTY
KOLKATA, 13 OCTOBER 2022
Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wazed has inaugurated today the first ever six lane bridge of the country, the Kalna or Madhumati bridge thus reducing the travelling distance between Kolkata and Dhaka by about 150 kilometres.
It will fill up the last missing link of Asian Highway -1 route and also decrease the travelling distance between Dhaka and Jessore.
The PM of bangladesh virtually inaugurated two bridges today, the second being the 3rd Shilakhshya bridge. It was also a long pending project. It will further improve the internal road link in Bangladesh.
Few months back, the Padma River bridge was inaugurated. After the inauguration of the Padma River bridge , the travelling distance has already been reduced to 90 kilometres from Kolkata and the present distance is 480 kilometres.
Further reduction of 150 kilometres means that the Kolkata – Dhaka tourism through bus link is all set to get a boost. The present Volvo bus fares between Dhaka to Kolkata is Rs.1600.
The Shyamoli Yatri Paribahan runs daily six bus services from Kolkata to Dhaka. It is tied up with West Bengal State Transport Corporation.
“ It is great news for the bus passengers and tourism sector as within 15 minutes after crossing the river the Padma Setu can be reached. In the coming days the fares are likely to be further reduced,”says Abani
Ghosh, owner of Shyamoli Yatri Paribahan.
Talking to The Travel and Tourism Times, Anil Punjabi, Chairman ( East) of Travel Agents Federation of India said that it will boost further tourism on both sides of the border.
“ It is good news as travelling will be much faster and the time almost will be reduced to about 50 percent.There will be more people going both ways and both precious time and money will be saved,” Anil Punjabi added.
Anil Punjabi further said that a lot of people from Bangladesh come to Kolkata for medical tourism and for business and leisure purposes and the seats of the buses remain full already. The graph of the economy will grow and foreign currency will flow in the state, he said.
The dedicated immigration counter desks on both sides of the border have also helped to reduce the time for getting the visas to be stamped.
The foundation stone of Kalna Bridge was laid on 24 January 2015 by the PM of Bangladesh. Kalna Bridge is a Nelson Low Arch type (curved like a bow) bridge. The length of the bridge is 690 meters and the width is 27.1 meters. The six-lane connecting road on both sides is about 4 and half kilometers. The total cost of construction of the bridge is about Rs.777 crores.
With the launch of EPZ (Export Processing Zone) at Lohagara in Narail, expansion of business and massive employment will be created and is set to change the socio economic development of the area.
Both Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have been trying to promote and boost tourism in Bangladesh and West Bengal respectively. These new bridges of Bangladesh are further set to improve the connectivity and pull more tourists in both epar and opar Bangla.