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 FEATURE # 89
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BBIN rally shows the way for Tripura
(04/12/2015)

The BBIN motor rally has ended in Kolkata. This rally has brought to the forefront several things to the attention of not only the national media but also the international media. But for Tripura it has brought the importance of its geographical location. The reached many milestones along its 4,500-kilometre route spanning 19 days, there were some "eyeopeners" for the drivers too.
The BBIN motor rally has ended in Kolkata. This rally has brought to the forefront several things to the attention of not only the national media but also the international media. But for Tripura it has brought the importance of its geographical location. The reached many milestones along its 4,500-kilometre route spanning 19 days, there were some "eyeopeners" for the drivers too. From putting wrong fuel that nearly got the engines of some of the SUVs malfunctioning at a pumping station in Magura near Jessore, to encountering 4-foot-deep potholes along the Silchar-Agartala National Highway 44 route, the BBIN rally overcame many a 'first'. Calling for urgent repair of the 250-km sector between Silchar and Agartala, Chennai-based Ejji K Umamahesh said the drive was an eye-opener for many.


Terming the road a "national shame", the veteran motorsports enthusiast said, "The so-called "National Highway" should be called the 'National Shame'. I have been driving on the Assam section of the road since 2004. It has always been a dust and potholed shame. Nothing has been done to repair it or replace it.""I asked the authorities, but no one told me why... It's kind of strange as you encounter big potholes of about 4 feet deep in some stretches. But the moment you enter Tripura, it's picture perfect and we were happy to drive to Agartala on good roads," he said.


Organised by the Kalinga Motors Sports Club in association with the Union Ministry of Road Transport, the rally was an initiative following the ratification of a motor vehicle agreement on June 10 for the regulation of passenger personal and cargo vehicular traffic movement across the four nations."The transformation will not happen overnight but we're glad that the process has begun, hope the rest will follow," Ejji said.


The rally also created a history when the gate opened on the Indian side to allow the BBIN Friendship Motor Rally to enter Bangladesh through the Belonia-Parshuram Land Crossing."These were the first cars ever to cross into Bangladesh through this crossing. No car from Bangladesh has come into India through this border, but it will happen soon," Ejji said."The whole stretch from Agartala to the border was lined with people waving flags and stopping us every few kilometers to give us goodies, take pictures with us and shake our hands. The whole town of Belonia had gathered at the border to witness the historic event. School and college students were there and it was interesting interacting and interviewing them," he said.The rally also had a septuagenarian participant in ex-serviceman Major General SD Mahanti who was all praise of the people's cooperation in Bangladesh.Recounting an experience which could have turned from bad to worse, the 72-year-old said, "Due to some communication gap petrol was filled in some of our 10 vehicles yesterday afternoon just before we were to enter Jessore. But the authorities there acted very promptly and saved all of us from a near mishap."Explaining the incident, Bangladeshi participant Mohammad Maqsudur Rahman, assistant director security Roads and Highways Department, who was also part of BCIM Car Rally in 2013, said, "In our country cars like these use petrol so the service people wrongly put the fuel. It came to our notice during billing and we immediately pressed our local authorities into action."President of Kalinga Motor Sports Club Praveen Chandra Bhanjdeo, a former Odisha Minister of Sports and Youth Services in the ruling BJD ministry, said: "From -7 degree Centigrade in Thimpu to 25 degrees when we were India, our drivers showed tremendous adjustment skill. We hope to be a beginning of something special. At the concluding ceremony Union Surface Transport minister Nitin Gadkari said that, "Bus service has started from Agartala to Kolkata via Dhaka... I believe we can build a strong relationship through tourism."

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