Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin
Gadkari has stated that 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. Gadkari stated this while addressing the
Infrastructure Summit organised by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries
(CNI) at Kathmandu on November 11, 2014.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
is an economic and geopolitical organisation of eight countries that are
primarily located in South Asia, with the Saarc Secretariat based in Kathmandu,
the capital city of Nepal. The eight Saarc countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan,
India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan .
According to a PIB government press release, the agreement
for passenger and cargo vehicles movement in SAARC countries is expected to be
signed during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister to Kathmandu. “India is doing its bit to support the
development of infrastructure in Nepal particularly for connectivity and
people-to-people contact”, the Minister added.
To take forward the efforts to reach an Agreement for the
Regulation of Passenger Traffic between the two countries, an official
delegation from India recently met a Nepalese delegation which was led by
Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MOPIT) and
included officers of MOPIT and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of
Nepal. Both sides agreed on adopting
the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement which was approved by both the Technical
Level as well as by the Expert Group Meeting during September 2014, which was
suitably amended to confine it to movement of passenger vehicles between India
The release further stated that this agreement would
facilitate Nepal-India bus services on reciprocal basis and a seamless movement
of people from the two countries. It would promote tourism and people-to-people
interaction. The following three routes,
have been identified for the bus service in the first instance: Kathmandu –
Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi: (ii) Kathmandu –
Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Azamgarh – Varanasi – New Delhi; (iii) Pokhara –
Bharahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi
In addition to the regular bus service along the three
routes, the Motor Vehicle Agreement also provides for movement of private
vehicles and non-regular passenger vehicles across the border. Such 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.
“On the side-lines of the proposed SAARC Summit and signing
of the SAARC / Bilateral Agreement we can strive to flag-off of the first bus
from Kathmandu to New Delhi”, the
minister noted . Efforts would also be
made to prevail upon any leading Indian transporter to simultaneously commence
a regular bus service on the same day, from Delhi to Kathmandu.
Referring to discussions between India and Nepal regarding
Phase-II of the Terai Road Project, the Minister said, “we are still trying to
resolve the stalled projects under Phase-I, and while decision on the Phase-I
can be taken separately, I understand that preparation of DPR / feasibility
studies for the road length identified under Phase-II could be taken up in the
first instance and this is under consideration of the Government of India”.
The 18th SAARC Summit is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu
in November 2014.