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Janakpur-Ayodhya direct bus service in limbo

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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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Tourist arrivals up by 34pc as season kicks off

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KATHMANDU — The inflow of foreign tourists in Nepal has increased by 33.8 per cent to 91,820 international visitors in arrivals in September, according to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The country has received 91,820 foreign visitors in September,thanks to strong growth from India and China, according to a press statement issued by NTB.

Nepal has four main seasons — spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Autumn, which falls between September an November, is the best season to visit the Himalayan nation as the skies are clear giving stunning views of the Himalayan peaks.

Tourist arrivals from India grew by 96 per cent in September in comparison to the same period in 2017 while visitor arrivals from China has continued to soar with an exponential growth of 55 per cent in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

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Likewise, arrivals from Sri Lanka surged by 57.1 per cent. The overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a sturdy growth of 52.8 per cent over the same month last year.

Likewise, arrivals from Asia (other than SAARC) have also recorded robust growth of 42.6 per cent. The number of visitors from Japan and South Korea has also increased by 8.9 per cent and 9.2 per cent, respectively.

The European markets generated 66.3 percent more visitors in September this year. Arrivals from Germany and France swelled 30.9 percent and 19 percent respectively.

However, New Zealand and Australia witnessed a decline of 9 percent and 4 percent compared to the 2017 figure. The number of visitors from the US and Canada also dropped 9 percent and 2 percent respectively in September.

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