Kolkata, April 8 : With the melody of Rabindrasangeet providing the perfect backdrop, two buses on Saturday drove out from the premises of West Bengal secretariat Nabanna, as India and Bangladesh added a fresh chapter in road communication by starting the Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka bus service.
Well decked up with balloons, marigolds, roses and a variety of other flowers, the two buses were ceremoniously flagged off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee jointly initiating the ceremony from Hyderabad House in Delhi.
Simultaneously, senior Bengal ministers - Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee - as also Bangladesh Deputy High Commission officials, waved the green flag at Nabanna to signal the beginning of the 409 km journey.
Tagore's immortal composition "Banglar Mati, Banglar Jol, Banglar Bayu, Banglar fol" - which is popular in both Bangladesh and Bengal - was sung by a chorus, as the two buses left the Nabanna premises one after the other.
A bus, operated by the West Bengal Transport Corporation, was flagged off first, followed by another run by the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation.
Signalling the spirit of the day, "Bharat Bangladesh Souhardya Yatra" (India-Bangladesh friendship Journey) - was written in bold on both the buses.
This is the first bus service connecting Kolkata and Khula and the third between Kolkata and Dhaka.
The two countries now operate buses on the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and, Kolkata-Dhaka routes.
Now, buses will be run three days a week on the new route.
Transport Department officials said the Kolkata-Khulna-Dhaka service would be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from Kolkata; and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from Dhaka.
The fare would be decided in the coming days.