A trial run of cargo transport between Kolkata and Agartala through Dhaka, reducing the distance by nearly two-thirds, was flagged off on Sunday as part of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional initiative for uninterrupted cargo movement.
“We consider this as a major event as mutual benefits for all the participating countries will be huge,” Union Transport Secretary Vijay Chibber said after flagging off a cargo truck from Nabanna, state secretariat of West Bengal here. “The distance between Kolkata and Agartala in Tripura will be reduced from 1550 km to 640 km and will be further reduced by another 150 km after completion of construction of a bridge in Bangladesh,” he said. “Mutual benefits for all the people of these countries will be huge. This is seen in Europe; there is no reason why our people cannot have such facilities,” he said. A private car was also flagged off along with the truck.
“The protocol is expected to be signed by officials of the four countries shortly at Siliguri in North Bengal with Asian Development Bank (ADB) acting as the secretariat of the BBIN platform,” West Bengal Transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said.
The BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement would mean that there would not be any requirement of transshipment of cargo at international borders between the countries and vehicles of each country would run uninterrupted through these countries through designated corridors.
“After the protocol is signed and regular cargo movement is started, huge economic benefits would augur on the people of the participating countries in this sub-regional initiative,” Chibber said, complimenting the facilitating role played by West Bengal government in signing of the agreement.
A BBIN car rally would be inaugurated on November 14 from Bhubaneswar and would conclude in Kolkata on December 2 after traversing all the four countries, Chibber said.