Kolkata: A technical glitch marred the inaugural run of the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service that was flagged off by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday.
At a ceremony in Nabanna, the state secretariat, Banerjee flagged off the bus with journalists, ministers and bureaucrats on board but it refused to move, leaving the chief minister red faced.
Officials later arranged for another bus which left for Dhaka nearly three hours later than the scheduled departure time.
Inaugurating the service, Banerjee said it will turn India-Bangladesh ties into an everlasting relationship.
"The launching of this service makes this day forever memorable and historically significant for both the countries," she said.
"This service will bring both India and Bangladesh closer and turn our cordial ties into an everlasting relationship," she added.
The cross-border bus service was approved at a recent meeting between Bangladesh Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader and his Indian counterpart Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi.
The bus service will facilitate visits to mainland Indian states by people of the mountainous northeastern region, reducing the distance by over 1,000 km.
Agartala via Guwahati is 1,650 km from Kolkata by road, but the distance between the Tripura capital and the West Bengal capital via Bangladesh is only around 500 km.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina are scheduled to flag off the Agartala-Kolkata direct bus service in Dhaka on June 6.