Secys dwell on development fund, charter

Kathmandu, August 28

As part of preparations for the fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation being held here on Thursday and Friday, the 19th senior officials’ meeting was held at Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza today. It noted the progress made so far and highlighted the need to make efforts to achieve more effective results.

The meeting dwelt at length on how cooperation under BIMSTEC could be made more effective and business-like.

For this, the meeting considered exploring the possibility of establishing BIMSTEC Development Fund, rationalisation of areas of cooperation and identification of core prioritised areas, strengthening the secretariat to make it capable of supporting member states in the implementation of decisions, initiating the process of evolving the charter of the BIMSTEC and initiating process of working out Rules of Procedures of BIMSTEC Mechanisms, according to Bharat Raj Paudyal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chaired by Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, the meeting was attended by Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohammed Shahidul Haque, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale, Deputy Director General of Myanmar’s Union Ministry of International Cooperation Win Zeyar Tun, Sri Lankan Additional Secretary (Economic Affairs and Trade) Ravinatha P Aryasinha, Bhutanese Foreign Secretary Sonam Tshong and Thailand Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Busaya Mathelin.

In his opening remarks, Bairagi said economic growth, prosperity and well-being of the people remained on top of BIMSTEC agenda. “Economic growth, trade and connectivity are critically important areas of cooperation for attaining prosperity in our region,” he said. The meeting also considered a number of reports of mechanisms related to customs cooperation, connectivity, technology, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, agriculture, poverty alleviation, public health and matters pertaining to strengthening the secretariat and adoption of the budget of the secretariat.

On the modality of the BIMSTEC development fund, Paudyal said member states would share their ideas through the secretariat, which would then be forwarded to a technical working group. The working group will then negotiate among member states and come up with final modality. “We have just reached an understanding for exploring the modality. We cannot yet say when and how it will be established,” said Paudyal at a media briefing after the conclusion of the senior officials’ meet. The meeting agreed that a charter was necessary for institutional development and strengthening of the BIMSTEC.

The meeting also recommended for signature the Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnections which will be signed during the summit. The MoU will pave the way for further cooperation in energy sector among the member states in the BIMSTEC region.

The 16th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting to be held at Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza tomorrow will consider and adopt the report of today’s senior officials’ meeting and special session of the senior officials’ meeting held in Kathmandu on August 11.

The ministerial meeting will also dwell on preparations for the fourth BIMSTEC summit, finalisation of the draft Kathmandu declaration of the fourth BIMSTEC summit, date and venue of the 17th ministerial meet, adoption of the joint statement of the 16th ministerial meet and handover of the chair of ministerial meeting.

Odd-even rule comes into effect today

Kathmandu, August 28

The decision of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division to implement the odd-even rule, which allows vehicles with odd and even registration numbers to ply in Kathmandu valley on alternate days targeting the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation summit, scheduled to be held on August 30 and 31, will come into effect from tomorrow.

In a bid to ensure smooth mobility of dignitaries participating in the BIMSTEC summit, MTPD is implementing the odd-even rule for vehicles in the valley for three days. Under this rule, vehicles with number plates ending in odd numbers (1,3,5,7 and 9) will be allowed to ply the roads on August 29 and 31, while those ending in even numbers (0,2,4,6 and 8) will be permitted to ply the roads on August 30.

However, emergency vehicles — ambulances and those belonging to media houses, security agencies and hospitals — will be exempt from the odd-even rule. Mediapersons will have to show their press card issued by the Department of Information Technology, according to MTPD.

Similarly, those on their way to airport on the respective dates will be exempted from the rule, provided they show their air-tickets. As per available statistics, over 1.1 million vehicles, including seven lakh two-wheelers, ply the valley roads daily.