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Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 12:27

Bhutan's upper house rejects 4-nation traffic deal

By Xinhua
Bhutan's upper house rejects 4-nation traffic deal
People on the road watch as a Bangladeshi cargo vehicle of the 'Dhaka-Kolkata-New Delhi' route begins its journey to Dhaka as part of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement, in Kolkata on Aug 30, 2016. ( Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

THIMPHU -- The National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan rejected a regional traffic agreement between Bangladesh , Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) over concerns for environmental pollution and security threat.

Twenty of the 25-member National Council cast ballots. Only two voted in favor of the agreement while 13 members voted against it and five abstained.

Leaders of the four countries signed the BBIN bloc in June 2015 in Bhutan's capital Thimphu. The agreement would be operational only when all four member countries ratify it. Bangladesh, India and Nepal have already approved it.

The pact if ratified by Bhutan would allow free flow of passengers, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among the four countries.

Groups of local people including internet users, truckers and taxi drivers have opposed the pact, and criticized the government for inking the agreement.

After attempting twice, the pact passed the National Assembly (Lower House) of Bhutan during the summer parliament session, with majority of the ruling party members voting for the deal.

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