Saarc nations move on multi- transport road

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Sep 14 | Updated: Sep 15 2007, 05:29am hrs
South Asian countries have inched forward in developing a multi-modal transport system for the region by identifying some select pilot project.

India had introduced a concept paper on South Asian Postal Union which was favourably discussed at the first meeting of the Saarc transport ministers on August 31.

With several multi-modal transport projects on the anvil, Sri Lanka has proposed setting up of a panel for monitoring of projects and development of institutional capacity building. It was also decided to include Afghanistan in the multi-model transport system for the region.

The regions multi-modal transport projects would attract financial technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank. Establishment of modern border crossing facility, including immigration, parking and cargo handling in Phuntsholing in Bhutan, is one of the identified pilot project.

The development of this facility would help to increase the Himalyan kingdoms border trade which has suffered due to traffic congestion.

India would initiate pilot projects to develop connectivity with its eastern neighbours.

It is proposed to connect Birgunj-Kaatihar-Singhabad-Rohanpur-Chittagong in Bangladesh with links to Jogbani and Biratnagar in Nepal and Agartala in Tripura. Other proposed links are to connect Kathmandu-Birgunj-Kolkata/Haldia and Agartala-Akhaura-Chittagong. Frequent air connectivity is also proposed between Male in Maldives and New Delhi and between Islamabad andNew Delhi.

Sri Lanka would initiate pilot projects like rail corridor no 5 between Colombo and Chennai in India and ferry services between Colombo and Kochi in India and between Colombo and Tuticorin in India.