Imphal: A joint team of India and Myanmar officials would commence a field survey from here today for the proposed Imphal-Mandalay passenger bus service.
Ten officials from Myanmar have arrived in Imphal to survey the 579-kilometer-long long road route from Imphal to Mandalay together with Indian officials.
Manipur's Transport Secretary M.Laxmikanta said that the Myanmarese team would be led by the Superintending Engineer of Public Works, Ministry of Construction, of the Sagaing Region, U Tang Toe Aung.
The team also includes Public Works, Ministry of Construction Deputy Commissioner Tamu Region, officials of Myanmar Traffic Police Force and Ministry of Rail Transport, he added.
The Indian team includes Ministry of External Affairs Under Secretary Mini Kumam, two Superintending Engineers of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Prashad and W Blah, PWD Road and Bridge Division Superintending Engineer Kh Temba and Transport Department Deputy Director B K Sharma.
The Government of India had already sent a draft report regarding the bus service to the Myanmar Government, M Laxmikanta said, and added that the Center is waiting for a response from Myanmar.
Saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Myanmar has boosted bilateral ties between the two countries, M Laxmikanta said the joint survey would assess all requirements of the bus service.
The Indian team would submit their report to the Central Government for inking an MoU between India and Myanmar after they return to Imphal.
A comprehensive proposal for introduction of Imphal-Mandalay bus service was submitted for the first time to the Ministries of DoNER and MoRTH in June 2009 after a public demand was passed by the Manipur Legislative Assembly on August 1, 2003.
The Governments of India and Myanmar held an inter-ministerial technical meeting at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on June 13, 2014.
The India delegation led by MoRTH Joint Secretary Niraj Verma also included State Government's Additional Secretary (Transport) M Luikham and Deputy Director (Transport) B K Sharma.
The Myanmarese team was led by Transport Planning Department, Government of Myanmar Director General U Sann Aung.
Both sides reviewed the decisions taken at the last technical level meeting held on September 17, 2012. The India side briefed the Myanmar side about the status of construction of road from Kalewa to Yargyi. The Indian delegation also updated the Myanmar side on the steps being taken by the Government of India for construction of 70 bridges on the Tamu-Kalay-Kalewa (TKK) Friendship Road.
The text of MoU which was discussed in the last bilateral inter-ministerial technical level meting held on September 17, 2012 was further reviewed and finalized.
The protocol of operationalisation of the MoU concerning issues of immigration, customs, visa procedures, insurance, security arrangements, authorized operators and appointment of authorized tour agents, fare and ticketing arrangements etc were discussed, finalized and initialized.
It was agreed that the initialized text of the MoU, the protocol and its annexure shall be submitted to competent authorities of both the countries for approval.
It was also agreed that both sides would work towards signing the MoU and the protocol at the earliest in order to facilitate early introduction of Imphal-Mandalay passenger bus service.
Whereas Imphal-Moreh Highway is 110-kilometers-long, the distance between Moreh and Mandalay via Tamu is 469 kilometers.
According to the draft MoU, passengers of Imphal-Mandalay bus service should possess valid passports. They may be granted single entry visa (valid for 28 days) on arrival at Tamu and Moreh check points by immigration officials of either India or Myanmar depending on which direction the passengers are travelling.
Tickets would be issued only to persons (nationals of either India or Myanmar) with valid travel documents.
Ticketing and reservation may be done by the bus operators directly or through their authorized agents, read the draft document.