4,500 Kilometer BBIN MVA Friendship Car Rally Concludes in Kolkata

2 December 2015

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor Rally which began on 14 November 2015 in India's Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, concluded on 2 December 2015 in Kolkata, West Bengal. The 19-day 4,500-kilometer car rally was held to promote the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) and strengthen ties in the BBIN subregion. Around 80 members took part onboard 20 vehicles, and covered the following cities:

  • Rairangpur, Odisha;
  • Bhubaneshwar, Odisha;
  • Baripada, Odisha;
  • Ranchi, Jharkhand;
  • Patna, Bihar;
  • Gangtok, Sikkim;
  • Thimphu, Bhutan;
  • Silchar/ Dispur, Assam;
  • Shillong, Meghalaya;
  • Agartala, Tripura;
  • Chittagong, Bangladesh;
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh; and
  • Kolkata, West Bengal.

India's Ministry of Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari congratulated the participants who successfully completed the rally, braving conditions on the road.

Rally participants' Bangladesh Deputy Secretary (Home) Nirod Chandra Mandal, Nepal representative Dasharath Bishal, and Bhutan representative Teshiang Rinjen expressed hope that the BBIN MVA would promote economic integration in the region. Mr. Bishal added that the BBIN Agreement will help improve people-to-people connectivity, strengthening relationships among SAARC member states.

Prior to the Agreement, it was very difficult to enter any of the BBIN countries with cargo, said Mr. Arun Bhatia, member of the rally team representing Kolkata. Through its implementation, the BBIN MVA will make freight movement more efficient, promoting business and contributing to the region's economy. Travel time between Kolkata and Agartala will also be reduced, cutting down at least two-thirds of the distance, from 1,550 km to 640 km.

Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber said the BBIN MVA will drive growth in the right direction for all four participating countries.

This Friendship Motor Rally follows ratification of the MVA for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal, and Cargo Vehicular Traffic in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. It was organized by Kalinga Motor Sports, with support from the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India, and clubs from countries in the subregion.

On 3-4 December 2015, a workshop to promote the BBIN MVA will be held in Kolkata to discuss the system of tracking cargo vehicles along the BBIN route. It will be coordinated by the Asian Development Bank, acting Secretariat of the BBIN, in partnership with the Government of India.

The landmark BBIN MVA was signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries in June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan. It aims to facilitate passenger, personal, and cargo vehicular cross-border traffic between and among the four countries to reduce costly and time-consuming transshipment of people and goods at border crossings, and create opportunities for greater economic exchanges along designated key trade routes in the four countries.

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