BBIN to talk rail project

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 22, 2016-

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have agreed to hold talks on the possibility of “BBIN Rail Agreement” drawing on the draft Saarc Regional Rail Agreement template.

The third meetings of the Joint Working Groups on Sub-Regional Cooperation between BBIN on water resources management and power/hydropower, connectivity and transit that concluded in Dhaka on Wednesday, agreed on settling various issues, including land ports and land customs stations, that are crucial for sub-regional trade and transit.

The working group also decided to collaborate on power trade, inter-grid connectivity cooperation in future power projects and water resources management between the four countries during the discussion on water resources management and power/hydropower. 

“Specific hydropower projects under BBIN framework that could be concretised on equitable basis were discussed,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

India was the first to take the BBIN initiative and start discussions on sub-regional theme like water resources and connectivity. It was decided that an “experts group” would be constituted for exchanging best practices in water resources management and on specifics of the identified projects, power trade, inter grid connectivity, flood forecasting and other areas of possible cooperation. 

The joint working group on connectivity and transit reviewed progress under the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement and made recommendations relevant to this process. 

In June last year, BBIN had signed the Motor Vehicle Agreement for free movement of goods and passengers among the four countries.  Under the agreement, the contracting parties will allow trucks and trailers with containers, passenger vehicles, hired or personal, to ply in the territory of other contracting parties. Under the deal, a tourist from any of the four countries can travel in his/her own car without restrictions.

The next meeting of the joint working group would be held in the second half of 2016 in India. The meeting was attended by joint secretaries from BBIN Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

Published: 22-01-2016 09:10

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