Mamata to flag off BCIM Car Rally
Kolkata, Feb 13 : The BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar) Car Rally will set out on an epic 3,000-km odyssey from Helipad Ground in the Salt Lake Stadium complex in Kolkata on Feb 22 to Kunming in China.
The Rally is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on behalf of the Government of India.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will flag off altogether 20 cars - 10 from the Tata Motors stable and 10 made by Hawtai of China - amid cheers and waving from thousands of people, and of course, hopes for a new beginning.
Sponsored by Tata Motors, ONGC and Autocar, and supported by the governments of these four countries, the BCIM Car Rally comprising 80 participants India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, is being organised and coordinated by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with several government departments, agencies and industrial houses, chipping in with help and assistance.
"This cross-country car rally is designed to revive and revitalise a historical route, boost cross-border trade, catalyse growth and lift the standard of lives of millions of people living in the BCIM region," Adi Godrej, President, Confederation of Indian Industry, said in a statement.
Significantly, the BCIM region that has a market of 2.8 billion people, and a GDP of USD 9.3 trillion, as in 2011, (16.3 trillion in PPPUSD ), offers great opportunities for intra-regional cooperation.
"The relatively open regimes in India, China and Bangladesh, new developments in Myanmar, and, of course the opportunities emerging in regional and global markets, are great opportunities to boost trade, investment and finance in the BCIM region. I am sure the rally will also serve as a glorious symbol of the historic bond that India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar share for centuries," Godrej said.
Beginning its journey in Kolkata, the BCIM Car Rally will traverse through mountainous terrains dense, jungles, vast, fertile plains to deep valleys, wild streams to expansive rivers via Jessore, Dhaka, Sylhet, Silchar, Imphal, Ka Lay, Mandalay, Ruili, Tengchong, Erhai Lake, Dali, before culminating in Kunming in China, on 5 March in 2013.
In Imphal, the capital of Manipur, Chief Minister Shri Okram Ibobi Singh, will be waiting to greet the Rally team as it passes through before crossing borders to head for Myanmar.
"There is an air of expectancy all around for the momentous journey," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
"That the BCIM Forum includes India and China, which are fast emerging as key players in the 21st Century, offers significant new opportunities for Bangladesh and Myanmar, too, to deepen cooperation with these countries," Banerjee added.
Significantly, the BCIM countries are also members of several Regional Trading Arrangements (RTAs) including SAFTA, BIMSTEC, APTA and ASEAN, in various configurations.
Moreover, said Banerjee, development has not been even in the BCIM region.
"Though, India and China have achieved phenomenal growth in the past two decades. The Northeastern parts of India and the areas across the borders in Myanmar and Bangladesh have yet to taste the fruits of the globalised economy," he said.
In China, too, the gap exists, he added. "While the coastal regions in that country have flourished and prospered, vast areas in Western China remain relatively underdeveloped."