Motor Vehicle Agreement sealed

KATHMANDU: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have sealed a framework Motor Vehicle Agreement, paving the way for free movement of both people and goods among the four SAARC member-states.

Transport Ministers of BBIN countries today sealed the deal, titled: “Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal, and Cargo Vehicular Traffic with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN)” in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu.

WIth proper ducuments one can travel to signatory countries without any hassle

Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Monday flagged off a vehicle that will run on the Thimphu-Guwahati-Shillong-Sylhet-Benapole-Kolkata route. It will take a few months to prepare protocols before the pact can be fully implemented, most probably by early next year, on a limited scale, officials said.

Countries comprising BBIN will have to ink separate bilateral agreements and protocols to fully operationalise it.

Once MVA comes into effect, passenger, personal or cargo vehicles of any of BBIN member states can have seamless travel access to another country without any hassle or difficulty during transit, according to Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi, who signed the agreement on Nepal’s behalf.

A Nepali citizen with valid documents will be able to travel to Bangladesh or Bhutan in his/her own vehicle via India without any bureaucratic hassle in the country of transit once the MVA is implemented in the signatory states, added a Nepali delegate.

Officials said MVA would promote safe, economically efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.

The Kathmandu Declaration of the SAARC Summit has encouraged member states to initiate regional and sub-regional measures to enhance connectivity as well as promote trade and energy cooperation.

The BBIN-MVA deal is expected to push forward a pending SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement, which couldn’t be finalised due to Pakistan’s reservations during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.