Officials from India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal met recently to finalize a Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA). The agreement is expected to be signed at a meeting of Transport Ministers of the four countries to be held soon this year.
The countries have agreed to set up individual national committees and a sub-regional joint committee for overall facilitation of land transport and to coordinate and monitor the agreement’s implementation.
Motor Vehicles Agreement:
The proposed SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement has wider scope for movement of all types of vehicles across SAARC member States and will be a path breaking endeavour.
What are the benefits?
- The agreement will allow passenger, personal and cargo vehicles to travel along designated key routes in the four SAARC countries without the need for trans-shipment of goods and passengers at the border crossings.
- The agreement will reduce costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and goods at the border crossing points making cross-border trade more efficient.
- It would help transform transport corridors linking the four countries into economic corridors and enhance people to people contact.
- This agreement would facilitate the transit of all types of vehicles between the contracting parties as is prevalent in other common markets like the European Union.
- It would promote tourism and people-to-people interaction.
The following three routes have been identified for the bus service in the first instance:
1. Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi.
2. Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Azamgarh – Varanasi – New Delhi.
3. Pokhara – Bharahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi.
Private and non-regular passenger vehicles would be entitled to use all established entry and exit points in the agreed upon framework envisaged under the Draft Agreement.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.