Shri Nitin Gadkari leaves for Brazil to attend global conference on traffic safety

Shri Nitin Gadkari leaves for Brazil to attend global conference on traffic safety 
Minister for Road Transport &Highways and Shipping, Shri Nitin Gadkari leaves for Brazil today to attend the two day “2nd High Level Global Conference on Traffic Safety – Time of Results” in Brasilia on the 18th and 19th of November, 2015. The conference is slated to be one of the most important discussions in the world on traffic safety, and aims to reaffirm the international community’s commitment towards reduction of traffic accidents that are responsible for 1.2 million fatalities every year. 

One of the major objectives of the event is to review the progress made by countries in implementing the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which aims to save five million lives on the planet through the adoption of policies, programs, actions and legislations to increase safety on the roads especially for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists .

The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was held in Russia in 2009.. Thereafter, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution for "Improving Global Road Safety", in 2014. The resolution expresses a concern about the fact that only 7% of the global population is protected by appropriate traffic laws, which provide mandatory use of helmets, seat belts and protective devices for children in vehicles, prohibition of driving under the influence of alcohol, speed control and prohibition of the use of mobile phones while driving, including sending text messages, which are the five key-factors of risk on transit

According to WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, 35 countries, accounting for nearly 10% of the world population, have passed laws tackling one or more of the five key-factors of risk between 2008 and 2011. However the number of countries with comprehensive legislation about all five key-factors of risk remained constant at 28 (representing 7% of the world population, or 449 million people) since the last WHO report in 2009. The goal of the Global Plan is that, at the end of the Decade of Action, the number of countries with comprehensive legislation on the subject increase by 50%.

The 2nd High Level Global Conference on Traffic Safety – Time of Results emerges from the UN resolution on “Improving Global Road Safety”. Led by the World Health Organization (WHO) , the conference aims to strengthen the commitment of the international community around policies, legislations, measures and actions that can halt the factors that cause 1.2 million deaths worldwide and physical trauma to another 30 to 50 million people due to traffic accidents every year,. The fatalities primarily affect children and young people from 5 to 29 years, and young men are the main victims.

India, along with host country Brazil is one of the Friends of the Decade of Action for Road Safety - an informal group committed to the success of the global plan. Others in the group are the Russian Federation, the United States, Spain, France, Australia , Argentina, Costa Rica, , Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Europe, the Global Commission for Traffic Safety (linked to the International Automobile Federation) and the Global Security Partnership in Traffic (linked to the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent). 

India and Bangladesh sign Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to operationalize agreement on coastal shipping. 
India and Bangladesh signed the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in New Delhi today, to operationalize the “Agreement on Coastal Shipping” signed between the two countries in June, 2015. The SOP was signed by the Joint DG (Shipping) Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and Chief Engineer and Ship Surveyer, Department of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh in the presence of Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping and Road Transport and Highways. Speaking on the occasion Shri Gadkari said that once it is operational, the Coastal Shipping Agreement will enable a huge saving in logistic costs of EXIM transport between the two countries.   The SOP has been framed as per the terms and conditions of the Agreement on Coastal Shipping and both India and Bangladesh have agreed to its provisions. Shri Rajive Kumar, Secretary Shipping Government of India and Shri Shafique Alam Mehdi, Secretary Shipping Government of Bangladesh were also present on the occasion. 

The Standard Operating Procedure will pave the way to promote coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh and would enhance bilateral trade between the two countries by bringing down the cost of transportation of EXIM cargo. The SOP contains provisions which stipulate that India and Bangladesh shall render same treatment to the other country's vessels as it would have done to its national vessels used in international sea transportation. The two sides have also agreed upon the use of vessels of  River Sea Vessel (RSV) category for Indo-Bangladesh coastal shipping.
The two countries will also hold Shipping Secretary level talks on 16th Nov, 2015 which will cover the issues relating to MoU on passenger and cruise vessel movement, discussion on the protocol to operationalize the MoU on use of Mongla and Chittagong ports, payment of transit fees and bank guarantee, dredging of rivers in the protocol route using Regional IDA Assistance of World Bank Assistance, discussion on various upcoming port projects in Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh have a Bilateral Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) for operation of inland vessels on the river protocol routes between river ports of Haldia, Kolkata, Pandu, Karimganj and Silghat in India and Narayanganj, Khulna, Mongla, Sirajganj and Ashuganj in Bangladesh.  This protocol between the two countries has facilitated the movement of EXIM trade as well as cargo bound for the North Eastern states of India. Out of a total of 1.8 million tonnes of cargo moved on Indo-Bangladesh protocol route during 2013-14, about 98% is fly ash which is transported from Kolkata to various river ports in Bangladesh.  During the current financial year, India for the first time is using the Indo-Bangladesh river protocol to transport food grains via Ashuganj to Tripura.  However, the quantum of cargo has not picked up because of low draft in the upper reaches of Bangladesh rivers and also because of certain non-trade barriers. 
            Rapid growth in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has led to congestion on the road at Indo-Bangladesh border and at the Land Custom Stations/integrated Check Posts.  The traffic congestion at “Petrapole” and “Benapole” on the Bangladesh side has emerged as one of the biggest impediments to the movement of EXIM cargo. Due to such congestion, the exporters/importers on both sides have been facing undue increase in the transportation cost. 
The present connectivity through sea route with Bangladesh is through ports of Colombo and Singapore. The long sea route adds significantly to the transportation costs of EXIM trade. There is no significant cargo movement between sea ports of Bangladesh and India as it is not profitable for the big vessels to operate between these sea ports.  Under such circumstances there is a need for smaller ships to provide direct connectivity of eastern sea ports of India with Chittagong and other ports in Bangladesh. This, besides improving the connectivity will also provide competitive freight rates. 
            The biggest impediment in commencing coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh was the non-availability of River Sea Vessel class of vessels in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has foreign going vessels of higher technical and manning standards which are not cost effective for coastal voyage between the two countries.  The matter was discussed with Bangladesh side during the Secretary (Shipping) level discussion in Dhaka in July, 2012 and again in Delhi in February, 2013. 
            Several Joint Technical Committee (JTCs) meetings have also taken place between India and Bangladesh on the issue of coastal shipping.  The previous engagements finally culminated in a broad understanding on coastal shipping on 24th June, 2014 in Dhaka. Thereafter, an Agreement on Coastal Shipping between Bangladesh and India was finalized and signed on 6th June, 2015 during the visit of Hon'ble Prime Minster of India to Bangladesh. The cooperation in coastal shipping between the two countries would be based on the principles of national sovereignty, mutual benefits as per national laws and international conventions.
Advantages of  the Agreement:
1) The opening of coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh would enable the movement of cargo to the North East through coastal shipping upto Chittagong and thereafter by road/inland waterways.
2) The deep draft ports on the eastern coast of India can be ‘hub ports’ for the onward transportation of cargo to Bangladesh via the coastal mode through RSV category of vessels.
3) The Indian ports will attract enhanced cargo and also the overall transportation cost to Bangladesh will get reduced.
4) The Indian ports serving as trans- shipment ports for Bangladesh cargo will derive benefits by way of enhanced throughput as a result of Indo-Bangladesh coastal trade.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.