BBIN deal to open possibilities for multimodal connectivity: Experts

Speakers at a webinar today said that the implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) will open up the possibility of adopting a sub-regional protocol for a cost-effective, efficient and seamless multimodal transport system, reports BSS.

The system will lead to a significant decrease in the cost of doing business and eventually increase the standard of living of the sub-region, said a press release.

Unnayan Shamannay, a private research organization, organized the webinar under the project titled "Enabling a Political Economy Discourse for Multi-modal Connectivity in the BBIN" on Wednesday.

The speakers said roadways, inland waterways, railway and coastal shipping transport systems must be integrated to reach the potential.

Former governor of Bangladesh Bank and chairperson of Unnayan Shamannay Atiur Rahman was the chief guest at the event.

Atiur Rahman said the implementation of the BBIN MVA and a multimodal connectivity protocol have become more relevant for economic recovery from the Covid-induced slowdown.

The MVA, as well as a multimodal connectivity protocol, can have a significant positive impact on the economy. The implementation of the MVA can help Bangladesh reverse the economic slowdown, he added.

Lawmakers Shirin Akhter, Md Shafiul Islam and Habibe Millat, executive director of CUTS International Bipul Chatterjee, UNDP Country Economist Nazneen Ahmed, additional secretary of ministry of road, transport and bridges Neelima Akhter were also spoke at the event.

According to a World Bank estimate, seamless connectivity between Bangladesh and India would increase the real income of Bangladesh by 17 per cent while it will increase India's real income by 8 per cent.

Thus, it is possible to realize this huge trade potential by implementing BBIN MVA and commence the discussion for a multimodal BBIN connectivity protocol.

According to the study by Unnayan Shamannay, the most important trade route between Dhaka, Chattogram or Mongla (Bangladesh) and Thimphu (Bhutan) goes through Burimari and eventually goes over Jamuna Bridge before being connected to Dhaka.

This route is part of BBIN MVA and can be used as a multimodal route by starting from Thimpu-Jogigopa (Road) and Jogigopa-Chilmari-Dhaka (via inland waterways).