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'SAARC must have special visa,common currency'

Written by: Staff

Siliguri, Mar 23: SAARC nations should have a special visa and a common currency that would facilitate people to move within the member nations freely, Bangladesh representative Mohammed Sazzad said here today.

''When river Brahmaputra does not have a barrier, then why should we have?'' Mr Sazzad questioned while interacting with the media prior to flagging off a SAARC car rally.

''It was a great experience for me to have seen the river in Guwahati yesterday. It is amazing how it flows right beside houses in Mymensingh in Bangladesh,'' Mr Sazzad said.

The senior member of the car rally was reflecting on the need for a freer passage among the SAARC nations and a common currency, much like the one existing in Europe.

The rally, which began on March 15, had already crossed two nations-- Bangladesh and Bhutan--and reached here, through the Panitanki border last night. It started for Nepal this morning.

''The aim of the rally, moving across seven countries, is its demand for a SAARC visa and SAARC currency,'' Indian representative Vikram Badsha said.

''If these are implemented, it will not only promote tourism and cultural relations among the nations, but also facilitate economic growth and business co-operation and improve connectivity,'' he added.

The rally members were warmly welcomed in Siliguri by Divisional Commissioner Biharilal Meena, Kamal Kumar Mittal, Chairman of Confederation of Indian Indusries (CII) North Bengal zonal council, and the District Magistrate and Superintendant of Police of Darjeeling.

The 8,000-km rally, with 101 participants and 32 cars from all the SAARC nations, has been organised joitly by the CII and Indian Ministry of External Affairs and SAARC secretarials.

The rallyists will again return to India and move to Delhi.

Thereafter they would move to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and finally finish off in Maldives on March 14.


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