NBSTC launches 4 new bus services to north Bengal

In spite of the losses incurred by the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) because of the turmoil in Darjeeling, it has gone ahead with promoting tourism in the region.

The corporation launched its website and the schedule of its bus service on Tuesday to help people get more tourism-related information.

"Besides NSBTC, there are other government undertakings which are also coming up with tourism packages. Such initiatives are part of the infrastructure development vision which the state government has undertaken," said state Tourism Minister Manabendra Mukherjee. "If these buses start earning profit then private investors will also be encouraged to invest in tourism infrastructure in Bengal," the minister added.

For residents of Kolkata, the NBSTC has launched 10 new tourism packages during the Pujas. Besides its 12 tourist buses, which ply from Kolkata, two new ones were added on Tuesday linking the city with the Dooars.

The NBSTC in the past one year has extended its tourism services to other divisions in Siliguri, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Beharampur and Raigunj. According to some officials, it was important to extend the tourism in the region beyond Darjeeling.

"We have been operating bus services for a long time. But for the past few years, we have been thinking of promoting tourism in Bengal by also offering tourism packages and buses solely dedicated for it. In the past, we had introduced such services in other divisions but from today we will include Kolkata too," said Samir Bandopadhay, MD, NBSTC.

Four new bus routes of NBSTC from Kolkata have been launched that include Kolkata to Dooars, Kolkata to Siliguri, Kolkata to Sikkim, Kolkata to Bhutan. "We are trying to promote areas in the Dooars, which are yet to be exploited. From Kolkata the tourist flow is usually to Darjeeling and Kalimpong but with continuous unrest, people are trying out newer options like Gorumara forest, Jaldapara in the Dooars and places like Thumpu, Rocky Island among others," said Utam Gon, Divisional Manager, NBSTC (Siliguri). "From the 10 new tourist packages, we hope to draw a net profit of Rs 5 lakh," Gon added.

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