Nepal, B’desh, Bhutan and India ink MVA deal

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal, B’desh, Bhutan and India ink MVA deal

Jun 15, 2015-

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Monday signed a Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA) which would enable the exchange of traffic rights and ease cross-border movement of goods, vehicles, and people.

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bimalendra Nidhi, Bangladesh’s Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader, Bhutanese Minister for Information and Communications Lyonpo DN Dhungyel and Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping signed the agreement to this effect.

Issuing a joint statement, the ministers of four countries have stated that they will make an effort to carry out a six-month work plan from July to December 2015 for the implementation of the BBIN MVA and aim to implement the agreement by October 2015.  

The member states have agreed to formalise the BBIN MVA by August 2015; make preparations for bilateral (and perhaps trilateral/quadrilateral) agreements/protocols for their implementation by July 2015; negotiation and approval of bilateral (trilateral/quadrilateral) agreements/ protocols by September 2015 and installation of the prerequisites for implementing the approved agreements like the IT systems, infrastructure, tracking and regulatory systems, among others, by December 2015. They aim to implement the agreement by October 2015

The agreement would allow the four nations to expedite the implementation of land transport facilitation arrangements between and among the member countries, according to the statement.

“We will endeavor to accelerate the preparatory steps for the effective and sustainable implementation of the agreement, starting with the formulation, negotiation, and finalisation of the necessary legal instruments and operating procedures. We recognise that the BBIN MVA is a complementary instrument to the existing transport agreements or arrangements at the bilateral levels that the contracting parties will continue to honour. Implementation difficulties, if any, will be resolved based on the BBIN MVA provisions,” the statement reads.

In a recent conversation with the Post, Secretary at Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Tulsi Prasad Sitaula had said that since the BBIM MVA is an umbrella agreement, a bilateral and trilateral agreement will have to be signed to facilitate seamless connectivity of passengers and vehicles through the roadways of these countries.

Prioritising the regional road connectivity projects within the BBIN nations, the statement has further stated that the member states have identified 30 priority transport connectivity projects with their total cost estimated at over $8 billion to rehabilitate and upgrade the remaining sections of trade and transport corridors in the four countries.

“We take note of the finding that transforming transport corridors into economic corridors could potentially increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by almost 60 percent and that with the rest of the world by over 30 percent,” the agreement states.  

Meanwhile, a BBIN Friendship Motor Rally has been slated for October 2015 to highlight the sub-regional connectivity and the scope and opportunities for greater people-to-people contact and trade under the BBIN initiative.

The transportation ministers flagged off the route survey for the rally on Monday.

Published: 16-06-2015 08:23

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