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SAARC transport meeting for greater connectivity, Nepali officials
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13:07, August 30, 2007

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The first ministerial meeting of transport ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries would seek ways to eliminate existing impediments on the movement of persons and goods within south Asia, according to local newspaper The Kathmandu Post on Thursday.

The SAARC transport ministers' meeting is to be held from Friday in New Delhi.

The paper quoted Purushottam Ojha, acting secretary at Nepal's Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply as saying Wednesday that the meeting would work to strengthen connectivity within the region. It would mainly explore measures for doing away with the existing physical and non-physical impediments.

"Connecting and strengthening road networks, sea ports and airport infrastructures along with the harmonization of documents and easy issuance of visas for the people of member countries for the greater connectivity will be discussed," Ojha said.

Member countries including Nepal, are proposing that each of the SAARC member countries sign bilateral transit agreements in order to pave the ways to strengthen bilateral trade ties.

The meeting will discuss the recommendations of a study funded by Asian Development Bank on multi-model transportation.

"The meeting will prioritize ten road corridors, six train corridors along with sea ports, inland ports and airport facilities to be built within the region," Ojha said.

Ramesh Lekhak, minister of state for labor and transport management said as strengthening connectivity by facilitating easy flow of goods and people is a cornerstone to boost trade and commerce among the member countries.

The meeting will focus on greater linkage with improved physical infrastructure and harmonization of documents within the region, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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