Kathmandu, July 31 (IANS) The movement of personal vehicles between India and Nepal is set to be facilitated under a protocol to be put in place shortly with the entire process of applying and getting permit for the journey available online, it was announced here on Friday.
The proposed measure is one of several in the pipeline aimed at streamlining the movement of people and vehicles across the India-Nepal border, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said on Friday.
The facility, under the bilateral motor vehicle agreement, received the nod at the first meeting of the India-Nepal Cross Border Transport Facilitation Joint Working Group in New Delhi. At present, only passenger buses are allowed to travel between the two countries.
Citizens of both countries do not require visas for travelling across the border but need to carry valid identity documents issued by the respective governments.
As for vehicles, certain procedures have to be followed, which were made easy in 2014 after both countries signed the bilateral motor vehicles agreement.
“In order to facilitate movement of vehicles across India-Nepal border, the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the IT-solution provider of the government of India, will design a web-based system for issuance of online permits under the bilateral agreement,” the Indian Embassy here said.
It would help issue, monitor and verify permits for non-scheduled and personal passenger vehicles. The new online permit system, once developed, would be approved by the Nepal government.
“The new system will facilitate procurement of vehicle permit for people based in far-flung and remote areas. After concurrence by both sides, the web-based portal would be tested on a pilot basis at the Birgunj-Raxaul and Bhairahawa-Sunauli border points,” the embassy said.
The existing manual system for vehicle permits in vogue in both countries would continue alongside.
Both sides also agreed to rationalise permit fee, customs duty and bank guarantee for different categories of vehicles.
The Indian side said free WiFi service and tracking system had been installed on the Delhi-Kathmandu route.
Meanwhile, the Joint Working Group has recommended introduction of regular bus service between India and Nepal on the Kathmandu-Patna-Bodhgaya, Mahendranagar-New Delhi, Siliguri-Kakarbhitta-Kathmandu and Janakpur-Patna routes.
Regular bus services on the Kathmandu-New Delhi and Kathmandu-Varanasi routes are already operational.
“The new routes will help improve connectivity and seamless movement between Nepal and border states of India, that is Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttarakhand,” the embassy said.
The new routes would be made operational after discussions and consent of all stakeholders on both sides of the border.