IMPHAL, December 9: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today flagged off the trial run of the much awaited Imphal-Mandalay Bus Service from Hotel Imphal, North AOC.
Deputy Chief Minister Shri Gaikhangam, IFCD Minister Ngamthang Haokip, Works and Transport Minister Dr Kh Ratankumar Singh and Secretary (Transport) M Lakshmikumar Singh also attended the flag off ceremony.
The tourist bus carrying 27 officials from both the State and Central governments including five officials of the Union Ministry of Roads and Transport will travel till Nay Pyi Taw via Mandalay. The Imphal-Mandalay distance is about 595 kms and from Mandalay it is 280 km till Nay Pyi Taw.
Briefing media persons after the flagging off ceremony, Transport Secretary M Lakshmikumar Singh said that this will be the final trial run which will sort out certain points like fair rate and other minor things.
He added that the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) road agreement which is coming up very soon will boost the bus service which will bring closer the ties between the peoples of Manipur and the Myanmar Manipuris and at the same time will open new opportunities for trade and commerce.
He said our department has been sincerely working to make this happen.
The trip will go upto Nay-Pyi-Taw where the delegates will be accorded a warm welcome by the Union Secretaries of both Myanmar and India.
There will be another official reception at Mandalay on December 12 and the team is returning to Imphal on December 14.
At the same time, necessary steps are being initiated to avail visa on arrival along with vehicle entry permits. The Government of India has framed a proposed transport Policy which is yet to be finalised with its Myanmar counterparts.
The delegates include Director Transport Roshita and IGP Manipur Police Clay Khongsai, Chief Engineer PWD M Lokendro and Addl. Chief Engineer Kh Temba and other officials from various State departments including Transport, PWD, Police, Com. & Ind., Planning and Medical and five officials of Govt. of India represented by the Ministries of MoRTH, MHA, MEA and Dept. of Revenue.
Representatives of the private tour operator Seven Sisters Holidays were also included in the team.
The bus is schedule for a night hold at Kalay on the first night and at Mandalay on the second night.
The date for the trial run was finalised by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) and the Govt. of Myanmar.
The Imphal-Mandalay bus service has been a long cherished dream of the people of Manipur which is intended to bring closer ties between the peoples of Manipur and Myanmar especially Myanmarese Manipuris.
It may be recalled that a resolution was passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 1, 2003 for introduction of the bus service between Imphal and Mandalay, according to an official statement.