Cabinet ratifies regional vehicular movement deal

The Cabinet yesterday ratified the ‘Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal, and Cargo Vehicular Traffic with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal’ (BBIN), aiming to boost road connectivity in the region, reports UNB.
The ratification came from the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan briefed reporters after the meeting.
He said the Cabinet approved the agreement on June 8 this year while this framework agreement signed during the transport ministers meeting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal on June 15 in Bhutan.
The cabinet secretary said the ratification was needed as part of the process to complete the formalities of its effectiveness by respective governments. He said a trilateral agreement and proposal will have to be signed to make the deal effective, and officials concerned (of joint secretary level) of the four countries will gather in a meeting in Dhaka on September 8-9 to finalise the deal and proposal.
Besides, a car rally involving the four countries will be held in October this year that will start from Bhubaneswar of India and end in Kolkata via Chittagong and Dhaka,
he said. The initiative was to sign the agreement during the last Saarc Summit held in Kathmandu last year, but that could not be signed since one country could not complete the internal process.
Before finalisation of the agreement, transport secretaries and other officials concerned of these four countries met in Kolkata and in Chennai of India for making further advancement on the agreement.
The draft agreement has kept a scope for the inclusion of any country subject to the consent of these four countries.
Besides, under the agreement, the vehicles concerned would need to take permits, no vehicle could take passengers and carry goods midway in any country, and the authorised officials of the traveling country could search the vehicles, and the vehicles must have insurances, abide by the prohibited and restricted list of the travelling country.
The relevant countries could review the agreement after every three years or before, even could withdraw from the agreement giving a six months’ notice.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier had shown keen interest and taken initiative for the finalisation of this agreement since she had long been advocating for boosting the connectivity and cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
The Cabinet in yesterday’s meeting also gave the final approval to the draft of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Act, 2015 proposed by the Ministry of Energy Power and Mineral Resources.
Mosharraf Hossain said the BPC was running under the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Ordinance 1976 promulgated during the Martial Law regime.
As per earlier decision of the Cabinet, the draft of the law was placed after making necessary amendments, he said adding that the draft was also translated into Bangla as per the directives of the country’s Supreme Court.
The Cabinet Secretary added that the proposal of the law was earlier approved by the Cabinet in principle in March last with some observations and subject to vetting of the Law Ministry.
According to the proposed draft law, the organization would be termed to have been established as if it was set up under the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation Act, 2015, he said.
Besides, under the proposed draft law, the BPC will be run by a nine-member Board of Directors headed by its full-time Chairman appointed by the government.
Of the eight embers of the board of directors, three full-time members—one from the Energy Division, one from the Power Division and another from the Finance Division each equivalent to Joint Secretary—will be appointed by the government while the appointment of other members would remain open.
The Cabinet also approved in principle the draft of Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organisation (Amendment) Act, 2015 to make the existing law more effective and time-befitting one.
According to the amended draft law, SPARSO would be run by a five-member board of directors headed by a full-time chairman appointed by the government.
The Cabinet in yesterday’s meeting also approved the ‘Headquarters Agreement between the Government of Bangladesh and South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO)’, and ‘Headquarters Agreement between the government of Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec)’.