7- 13 November 2014 #731

By car to India

Kantipur, 3 November

A new Indo-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement to be signed during the SAARC Summit will remove the hassles of permits and fees and allow Nepali cars to travel within India for a period of one month at a time. Nepal’s Transport Secretary Tulsi Sitaula and Indian Road Transport Secretary Vijay Chibber finalised the draft of the agreement on Saturday in Kathmandu.

Under the agreement, cars from one country will be allowed to drive to another country for one week without fees, and for one month after paying a fee. The permission will be granted at the border itself. Nepali cars entering India currently have to get a permit from the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and deposit a large sum of money. Indian vehicles coming to Nepal have to pay Rs400 per day, but after this agreement they will not have to pay a fee for a week and can stay for up to a month at a time.

The agreement was expedited after Indian prime Minsiter Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August during which he had pushed for easing travel restrictions. Nepal had been pushing for such an agreement for a long time, but the Indian side had not responded before this. Since the agreement will not be ready in time for the visit here of Indian Transport Minister next week, it will probably be signed by Modi himself during the SAARC summit.

“We were waiting for a long time for this to happen, finally now it is becoming a reality,” Secretary Sitaula said. “Everything will be streamlined, the permit will be available at the border and there will be no fee for one week.”

Along with private vehicles, the agreement will also allow the operation of bus service between Kathmandu and Varanasi and Delhi, and between Pokhara and Delhi. The new regular bus service between Kathmandu and Delhi will also be inaugurated during the Modi visit.