“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”, said the Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari while addressing the Infrastructure Summit organized by the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) at Kathmandu today. 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 and Nepal.
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”.