LAHORE, Jan 16: Seven seats have so far been booked on the first Lahore-Amritsar bus scheduled to leave on Friday. All the seven seats have been booked by Punjabi folk singer Reshma and her family.
The PTDC bus service officials say all arrangements have been completed to ply the bus on the scheduled date. They say that they expect more bookings, including that of journalists planning to travel and cover the operation of Lahore-Amritsar bus. They say that some PTDC officials will also travel with the first batch of visitors to Amritsar. In all, there are 39 seats in the bus.
The Indian government will ply its first bus on this international route on Jan 24.
It may be mentioned that the PTDC will regularly ply a bus on Lahore-Amritsar route every Friday. While the Indian bus will ply from Amritsar to Lahore every Tuesday. The one-way fare of this international travel has been fixed at Pakistani Rs900 and Indian Rs750.
The Lahore-Amritsar service will be the third bus service between India and Pakistan following Lahore-Delhi and Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus services.
Pakistan and Indian governments have already agreed that a trial run of another bus will be started between Amritsar and the Nankana Sahib on Jan 29. It has also been decided that the regular operation of Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service will begin within a month after the trial run. The one-way fare for the route will be Pakistani Rs1,200 and Indian Rs1,000.
The joint statement regarding both bus services had been signed in the two-day third round of the Pakistan-India technical level talks on Dec 21 last.
As there is a strong demand for the establishment of a visa facility in Lahore, it may be mentioned that Pakistani delegation head Muhammad Abbas, who is additional secretary ministry of communication, had told reporters that he had already raised this issue with the Indian delegation which held out an assurance that it would take up the matter with the Indian government and a favourable decision would soon be taken.