Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) could not yet be implemented although nearly one and a half years have elapsed since the signing of a framework agreement to build roads across the region for better economic cooperation.
The four-nation agreement, believed to be a precursor to cooperation in the fields like connectivity, energy, trade and ICT, will come into effect once every country ratifies it.
Although Bangladesh, India and Nepal have already ratified the deal, Bhutanese parliament is yet to approve the treaty, creating an obstacle to the way in implementing the deal, said Additional Secretary to Road Transport and Bridges Department Abdul Malek.
Matiar Rahman, Chairman of the Land Port Subcommittee of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, said the motor vehicle agreement will play a vital role in maximising trade among the four South Asian countries. "But, we're disappointed that the deal could not yet be implemented," Matiar added.
He urged the authorities concerned to work for materilasing the initiative as early as possible aiming to open up a new door for Bangladesh's friends from three other South Asian countries with frequent visits offering cheaper travel costs.
The port authorities of Benapole, Burimari, Akhaura and Tamabil have taken all necessary preparations for transporting goods from India, Bhutan and Nepal under the agreement, said Foyjur Nahar, Assistant Director (Traffic) of Bangladesh Land Port Authority.
Meanwhile, Roads and Highways Department have taken an initiative to upgrade Jessore-Benapole Highway to four-lane one for the smooth movement of vehicles from three others countries.
Mehedi Iqbal, executive engineer of Jessore Roads and Highways Department, said "We've already sent a proposal in this regard to the government and it's likely to get Ecnec clearance very soon."
The BBIN MVA is the re-packaged version of the Saarc motor vehicles agreement that was proposed during the 18th SAARC summit held in 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal.The Saarc motor vehicles agreement could not be materialised as Pakistan refused to come on board.
Signed on June 15, 2015, the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement will allow vehicles to enter each other's territory and does away with transshipment of goods from one country's truck to another at the border.
Later, Friendship Motor Rally was arranged under the agreement where an 80-member delegation, consisting government officials and businessmen of the four countries, took part.
On November 15, 2015, the rally started from Bhubaneswar in Orissa of India and ended in Kolkata of the same country on December 2 via Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
Besides, a cargo truck was sent to Agartala from Kolkata through Benapole port and Akhaura of Bangladesh as an experimental measure on November 1, 2015.