Road agreement with Myanmar, Thailand soon: Gadkari

Kolkata, Dec 2 (IANS) Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the central government was working towards inking an agreement with Myanmar and Thailand for seamless flow of traffic across the region.

Addressing participants in a car rally, held to promote the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) agreement on uninterrupted cargo movement in the region, Gadkari said the central government is investing Rs.1 lakh crore in the northeastern region for road projects.

“Going forward, we would want to have roads from northeast to Burma (Myanmar) and then Thailand. We are trying to settle in an agreement. The routes will help tourism and trade will flourish,” he said at the concluding ceremony of the BBIN Friendship Motor Rally here.

The rally covered about 4,500 km following the route of road networks laid out during the BBIN-Motor Vehicle Agreement signed between the four nations at Thimpu in Bhutan in June.

Stressing the importance of road network, Gadkari said the central government was keen to develop the infrastructure in the northeast.

“We have decided to invest Rs.1 lakh crore in northeast for road projects. We are also very happy to announce that road construction worth Rs.16,000 crore has already started. I hope the northeast will benefit a lot from this,” he said.

The minister said the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service that was flagged off in June has strengthened tourism and the mutual ties.

“We have also made an agreement with Bangladesh over using the Brahmaputra, which will also help in business and economy. We also hope in future that we will have water-passenger transport for travelling from India to Bangladesh,” he said.

“We will not only build bridges, but bridge hearts as well,” added the minister.

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