Kolkata, Nov 1 (IANS) A trial cum pilot run of cargo vehicle on Kolkata-Agartala via Dhaka route under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement was flagged off from the West Bengal state secretariat Nabanna in neighbouring Howrah district on Sunday.
Aimed at unhindered cargo movement through designated corridors without any requirement of trans-shipment at the international borders between the four countries, the BBIN sub-regional initiative has reduced distance between Kolkata and Tripura’s Agartala by nearly two thirds – from 1,550 kms to 640 km.
Flagging off the cargo vehicle, union Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chibber said the distance would be further cut by another 150 km once Bangladesh completes construction of a bridge.
State Transport Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said the initiative will provide cheap, fast and environment-friendly movement for goods to the northeast.
“Then, people from the north east can buy the goods at a cheaper price than what they are paying now. Our transporters and traders will hugely benefit. West Bengal will be the centre of another economic integration,” he said.
The BBIN motor vehicles agreement was signed on June 15 at Thimphu. The draft protocol, finalised on September 8-9, 2015 at Dhaka, is expected to be signed by officials of the four countries at a conference to be held shortly in northern West Bengal’s Siliguri. The Asian Development Bank is acting as the secretariat of the BBIN platform.
Mainul Kabir, counsellor & head of chancery, Bangladesh deputy high commission, Kolkata, was also present at the function.