Draft protocol ready, awaits Cabinet approvalA draft protocol of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement has been finalised and is awaiting a Cabinet nod.
A draft protocol of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement has been finalised and is awaiting a Cabinet nod.
According to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT), the government will be ready to sign an agreement with India and Bangladesh at the secretary level to start passenger and cargo vehicle services once it gets Cabinet approval.
The MVA allows member states to operate their cargo and passenger services in each other’s territories without having to clear customs formalities at the border check posts.
A secretary level meeting is scheduled to take place in New Delhi once all three member states, which have agreed to be part of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA), get the protocol ratified from their respective cabinets. Though Bhutan is also the member of BBIN, the country pulled out of the MVA agreement in April 2017 after the government failed to ratify it.
Nepal, India and Bangladesh had signed the MVA agreement in June 2015, following endorsement from their parliament. Bhutan has said that its next government, after the 2018 elections, may take up the matter.
“We are awaiting a Cabinet decision. Overland transportation connectivity between the three nations will be realised once the Cabinet of three nations independently ratifies the draft protocol,” Joint Secretary at MoPIT Keshav Kumar Sharma said.
The draft protocol was prepared following a successful trial run of two buses. The buses, with delegates from the three nations, had set off from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka reached Kathmandu via Siliguri in India on April 26, covering a distance of 1,197 km—488km in Bangladesh, 50km in India and 699km in Nepal.
The report of the test run says there are no issues on road condition in Bangladesh and India. It has pointed out the Muglin-Narayangadh road section, which is currently under construction.
MoPIT officials, however, said the issue of Muglin-Narayangadh section would be resolved soon as the road is currently being widened.
According to Joint Secretary Sharma, the agreement will initially open the door for passenger vehicles and then gradually allow cargo movements. “The protocol has suggested measures and methodologies to be applied for customs and immigration clearance, while crossing international borders,” Sharma said.
India, which connects Nepal with Bangladesh, has already started developing infrastructure to support the project by approving $1.08 billion fund for the construction and upgradation of 558km road section that joins these two nations as well as Bhutan. The Asian Development Bank is funding 50 percent of the project cost.