NEW DELHI (TIP): India and China are set to sign an agreement for cooperation in the road and transport sector when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Beijing in October. One of the areas would be cooperation in sharing of information on transport infrastructure. Government sources said the transport ministries of both sides have approved the details of the proposed agreement.
Sources said the identified areas of cooperation include sharing best practices in road and bridge building technologies, policies, intelligent traffic system besides road-related issues. China has taken huge strides in building world class highways, and has built over 60,000 km of expressways. Plans are afoot to build around 18,000 km of expressways in India. China has also made a mark in speedy implementation of infrastructure projects, particularly road and rail. “Once we have technology sharing, it will help us push the pace of construction. They have also improved their record in reducing road deaths in the past sixseven years.
Cooperation will open a window of opportunity for both the countries,” an official said. Around half-a-dozen road projects are being built with participation of Chinese companies. Sources said all these projects were bagged by private entities in which Chinese firms had a share. Sources said no project has been identified that can be taken up under this cooperation. “This is just a beginning. As we progress, projects will be identified,” the official said. The other major area of cooperation will in the electronic mode of collecting toll (ETC).
China is way ahead of India in this sector. India also plans to bring all toll plazas on national highways under ETC so that people can pass through all plazas using a single smart card. India and China will also cooperate in the field of intelligent traffic system, vehicle specifications and their certification. While India is likely to benefit from Chinese sharing of information and knowledge, China will learn from India’s success in implementing public-private-partnership projects.
Last year, former highways minister C P Joshi had reached out to Chinese infrastructure companies to invest in the road sector. He had said around 40 road construction projects were being undertaken by companies from China, Russia, the UK, Dubai, Singapore, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain and Thailand.