If things go as planned those interested to travel from Kathmandu to New Delhi and vice versa would have the option of taking a bus from the end of this month.
Nepal and India are likely to sign a motor vehicle agreement (MVA) when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is here for the 18th SAARC summit. Once that happens, buses will start plying between the two capitals.
“Transport secretaries of both countries met here last week to fine tune details of the agreement. It is expected to be signed in presence of our Prime Minister,” said a senior Indian embassy diplomat.
Despite large movement of vehicles between the two countries there is no MVA. Vehicular movement is allowed on basis of bilateral understanding reached in the 1960s and continues till date.
A MVA for passenger vehicles was initialed in 2004 but is yet to be signed.
At present some private operators ply buses between the two neighbours, but absence of a MVA requires operators to obtain permits every time the buses enter each others soils.
The agreement would provide operators with an annual permit and Nepali transporters won’t have to pay additional road taxes while crossing from one state to another after entering India.
Besides the Kathmandu-New Delhi route, there is also plan to operate buses between Kathmandu-Varanasi, Pokhara-New Delhi and Biratnagar-Darjeeling.
“The agreement would also allow private Indian vehicles to enter Nepal for a period of five days without paying any taxes as they are required now. The same will also apply for Nepali private vehicles,” he said.
At present private Nepali vehicles entering India have to obtain a permit from the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, the consulate general office in Birganj and the camp office in Biratnagar by paying specified fees.
Similarly private Indian vehicles entering Nepal have to register their vehicles at the border and pay a fee ranging from NRs 250 to NRs 500 per day depending on the type of vehicle.