IMPHAL, February 27: Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh flagged off the 1st BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) car rally 2013 which is being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) under the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India from Kangla today.
It may be mentioned that the car rally started off from Kolkata on February 22, 2013 and reached Imphal yesterday evening, after passing through Bangladesh and then Assam. It will set off for Myanmar through Moreh today and will end at Kunming of Yunnan Province in South China.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister announced, “As a first step towards easing of restrictions, the government (centre) has decided to provide Visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese nationals,” he said.
Stressing that the restrictions in the movement of goods and services and people across the border need to be eased, the Chief Minister said, “We are looking at the opening up of road and rail passages to Bangladesh through Tripura so that our goods can be exported by using the ports of Bangladesh. ”
The Centre has decided to provide visa on arrival at Moreh for the Myanmarese seeking medical treatment, Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh announced at the flag-off of the BCIM rally in Imphal.
Addressing the gathering, Singh said the restrictions in the movement of goods and services and people across the border need to be eased.
“We are looking at the opening up of road and rail passages to Bangladesh through Tripura so that our goods can be exported by using the ports of Bangladesh,” the Chief minister said.
The rally on Wednesday set off on its sixth stage from Imphal to Ka Lay in Myanmar.
CII chairman (eastern region) R K Agrawal hoped that the rally would revive ancient links and also forge new ties.
“It would also highlight the potential of northeast and explore cross-border land trade. CII is priviledged to partner the rally and have all the governments in its side,” he added.
13 participants are taking part in the BCIM car rally from Bangladesh, 20 from China, 25 from India and 17 from Myanmar and 13 other officials. In the rally which was flagged off from Imphal today, Managing Director and his wife of Tata Motors, the vehicle partner of the rally also took part.
The flag off ceremony was presided over by Gaikhangam, Deputy Chief Minister and attended by the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Ministers, MLAs and Civil and Police officials. A souvenir was released by O Ibobi Singh on the occasion and mementos were distributed to the participants.
Gaikhangam, Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur said that the BCIM car rally was planned over the last 6 years with the initiative taken by the leaders of the 4 countries and is expected to improve relationships among nations, improve friendship and build up the lost glory and traditional business route which has existed for centuries and historically known as the Southern Silk Route.
He continued that the countries are very near to each other but continue to be far away due to lack of connectivity and communication. He stressed that the neighbouring nations should open up for economic activity which in turn will provide employment opportunities for the youth.
The car rally, which has a motto of `Building Bonds, Fostering Friendship`, is focused to play a catalysis in stimulating interest of the concerned stakeholders in deepening BCIM cooperation.
3028-km rally`s next stop is Ka Lay before heading to Mandalay, Ruili and then to Tengchong, Dali and Kunming in China where it is scheduled to culminate on March 5.