Most Awaited Imphal-Mandalay Bus Service to Begin From April 7

The bus service from Mandalay would end at the border town of Tamu from where the Indian bus operator will take passengers to Moreh town in Manipur. 

Most Awaited Imphal-Mandalay Bus Service to Begin From April 7
Representative image

Nearly a year after Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh said that “formalities between India and Myanmar are at their final stages” for a bus service between Imphal and Mandalay, he announced in the state assembly on February 18 that it would be operational this April onwards.

Manipur shares a 579-km border with Myanmar. Three other northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram – too share borders with Myanmar, covering more than a 2,000-km stretch in total. 

On February 18, making a statement in the house during a discussion on the government’s transport department, Singh, who is also the transport minister, reportedly gave a definite deadline of April 7 for flagging off the bus service. He said the service would begin from Mandalay on April 7 and the ride from Imphal would start on April 8.

He also said the government has a plan to turn it into a daily service but initially it will operate thrice a week. 

A report in Myanmar Times on February 17 quoted an official of the Mandalay-based Shwe Mandalay Express Co. Ltd to say that the trip would be 14-day-long and “made possible by a partnership with India’s Seven Sister Holidays Co. Ltd.” The official said the agreement between the two companies was signed on February 14.  

The official told Myanmar Times, “We have been working on this route since 2018 when the border gate opened. It took a long time to make this come true, as immigration and customs had to be negotiated. A memorandum of understanding was signed after visits by the presidents of both countries.”

The bus service from Mandalay would end at the border town of Tamu from where the Indian bus operator will take passengers to Moreh town in Manipur. 

In June 2019, the Manipur chief minister had said at a conference on the Centre’s Act East Policy in Imphal that the formalities were at their “final stages.” Delegates from Myanmar were present in that meeting.

In October 2018, the issue was raised when Myanmar transport minister U Thant Sin Muang met the then transport minister Nitin Gandhi. According to a Times of India report on the Imphal conference, “It was decided that a bus from India will take passengers to the Myanmar border where they will be transferred to a bus run by a Myanmar operator for travelling further. Likewise, India-bound nationals will be transferred to the bus run by an Indian operator.”  

Singh had also spoken about developing air and rail links with Myanmar. The country is an important partner in India’s realisation of the Act East Policy.  

Source : The Wire