Indian High Commission debunks old news on travel restriction

Indian High Commission has drawn attention to a news story recently making rounds on social media citing that there is no restriction for Bangladeshi travelers willing to visit India.

The Business Standard – dated 9 January 2022 – reported that the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has rapidly as Bangladeshi citizens to refrain from necessary travelling to India unless absolutely Omicron infections are rising rapidly in his country.

However, some netizens are circulating the old news in different Facebook groups for the past few days saying the high commissioner’s remark is recent.

A high commission said on Saturday (May 7) “There is no such advisory of the Government of India as it remains open to travel by all nationalities.”

“The image of a news story circulating online is not a recent story, although it may have been downloaded again on 6 May,” he added.

Meanwhile, sixteen India Visa Application Centers in Bangladesh were open for extra hours through the first week of May and even open on holidays to meet the extra demand for visas.

Earlier this year, All including Indian citizens living abroad were requested to avoid visiting India as per the Indian high commissioner.

After the first Covid-19 infection was reported in Bangladesh on 8 March 2020, India closed its border on 13 March and imposed a travel ban.

India restarted issuing visas for Bangladeshi tourists on 15 November 2021, but they had to travel by air.

Later, in April this year, India lifted restrictions on cross-border travel to and from Bangladesh after a two-year hiatus.

Bangladesh, however, lifted restrictions on cross-border travel to and from India on 16 September last year as Covid-19 scenario in the country and the region improved.

Currently, travelers can move through all the land ports, except Darshana, said sources at the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshi passengers who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine can enter India by showing a Covid-19 negative certificate. They would not need such a certificate when they return to Bangladesh, said Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge of Benapole immigration check post.

According to an Indian media outlet, the number of passengers passing through the India-Bangladesh border on tourist visas is around 10 lakh per year. The Indian embassy collects around Tk100 crore in visa fees from the passengers, while the revenue of Bangladesh government from travel tax is about Tk50 crore.

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