Bangladesh visa centre opens in Siliguri
A centre to receive and process applications for Bangladeshi visas was inaugurated in Siliguri on Wednesday, much to the elation of north Bengal residents who have been demanding such a facility for quite some time, Telegraph India reports.
The application centre, located at the International Market on Sevoke Road near Panitanki More of the city, will be run by Du Digital BD Private Limited, a Calcutta-based company.
“It is the only outsourced agency of the Bangladesh deputy high commission of Calcutta for accepting Bangladeshi visa applications from Indians and other foreign nationals,” said a source.
Officials said any person seeking visa for travelling to Bangladesh could apply for the same at the centre as well as a branch of Sonali Bank — a prominent bank of the neighbouring country — situated on Sevoke Road. Earlier, people from north Bengal had to visit Calcutta to collect a visa.
“Visa applications will be accepted from 9am to 3pm. The centre has form-filling desks, a photo-booth and photocopy facilities, along with passport return counters. An applicant has to pay Rs 825 for all categories of visas,” a representative of the company said.
The opening of the visa centre comes at a time when plans have been drawn by authorities of both the counties to commence train service between Dhaka and Siliguri. Also, there is a plan to run buses between Bangladesh and Nepal via Siliguri under the motor vehicle agreement that has been signed by the three countries.
Samrat Sanyal, general secretary, Himalayan Hospitality & Tourism Development Network, said the visa centre would largely cater to the needs of people of north Bengal.
“Many people want to visit Bangladesh where they had their roots. There are others who want to take a trip to the neighbouring country. We believe the footfall of tourists from north Bengal in Bangladesh will increase in the coming days.”