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Janakpur-Ayodhya direct bus service in limbo




JANAKPUR — The future journey of bus service between Janakpur and Indian city Ayodhya– the two pilgrimage sites for Hindus — has become uncertain after the service failed to continue.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on May 11 had jointly inaugurated a direct bus service along the route.

The bus service as part of the Ramayan Circuit to promote religious tourism in Nepal and India has been stopped abruptly.

The locals have complained that the service was started without adequate preparation for only cheap popularity which lost steam in the very beginning.

The concerned officials have stated that about six months may be required to continue the service with all preparations.

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The first journey was begun carrying 34 passengers including provincial state minister for Internal Affairs Saroj Singh Kushwa and Janakpur sub Metropolis deputy mayor Rita Kumari Mishra.

The both Prime Ministers had flagged off the bus service during Indian PM Modi’s State visit to Nepal from the famous Janaki temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Sita.

However, a source at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport stated that the service was postponed for the time being as they were working out to link the route permanently as it was religious routine.

Joint-Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure, Keshav Sharma, said that a joint meeting of the both countries would make decision as the bus service should be operated in a regular basis after the agreement on various technical aspects including route from Janakpur to Ayodhyaya and bus fare.

The Joint Committee meeting is going to be held to determine the route as the bus service has to be operated via Ramayan Circuit.

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It takes around 12 hours to reach Ayodhyaya from Janakpur via Sitamadhi and the distance between Janakpur-Ayodhyaya is 544 kilometres.

Minister for Physical Planning of Province no 2, Jitendra Sonal, said that it is still uncertain when the bus service would resume as the central government has to take decision over various issues including bus route, bus fare and company operating the service.

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Over 500,000 tourists visit Nepal in first 6 months





KATHMANDU — As many as 520,000 tourists visited the country in the first six months of the year 2018.

This is 13 per cent increment in tourist arrivals compared to the number of tourists visiting the country during the corresponding period last year, according to the Department of Immigration.

During the same period last year, a total of 460,304 foreign tourists had visited the country. The data shows that tourist arrivals were encouraging even during the rainy season. It may be noted that Nepal Tourism Board held tourism promotional programs aimed at attracting more tourists to Nepal.

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NTB Chief Executive Officer Deepak Raj Joshi said increase in the number of foreigners even during off season was good news for tourism entrepreneurs. The contribution of the private sector to the country’s tourism cannot be ignored, he added.

The latest data shows that 96,372 Indian tourists visited Nepal in the period while the number of Chinese was 71,379. The number of tourists from the United States of America was 43,816, while the number Japanese tourists stood at 13, 851.

Nepal welcomed tourists especially from South Asia and European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, among others.

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