November 29, 2013



Good roads make friendly neighbours

November 7, 2013

Global Times |
By Ding Gang

Both China and India have drawn each other’s attention with major moves. India has welcomed a remarkable milestone in the development of its space technology by successfully launching its first Mars orbiter, theMangalyaan.Meanwhile, China extended its highway network to the last untouched county, Motuo, located in southeastern Tibet. The road, which took decades to complete, has provided the once isolated plateau with a gateway to the world.

These two accomplishments are enough to make Indians and Chinese feel proud. However, they seem to have caused mutual suspicion instead, and even been misinterpreted by some netizens as measures against each other.

With rapid development in many areas and in particular defense over the last decade and more, China and India have become more suspicious of each other’s intention, which reflects long-term distrust in their bilateral relationship.

Problems in the Sino-Indian relationship are mainly triggered by boundary demarcation. The foremost way to reduce mutual suspicion is to lay down some basic rules in tackling border issues to control frictions and prevent conflicts.

The Border Defense Cooperation Agreement between India and China signed in Beijing last month marked an important step toward this. If New Delhi and Beijing can strictly abide by the pact and conduct frequent dialogues between officials at different levels near the Line of Actual Control, there will be fewer chances of conflicts.

The two nations can then begin considering how to make substantial progress that promotes business and trade in border areas and benefits the general public.

In recent years, Beijing and New Delhi have been engaged in road projects near border regions, and have also made plans to build railways. Mutual suspicion will increase if the highways and railways cannot be connected between the two countries. But if the two can be connected, the entire region can prosper.

Currently, China and India conduct trade mostly by sea. A large bulk of Tibet’s imports from and exports to India has to pass through the port of Tianjin and then be shipped to the harbors of Calcutta.

If the two countries can connect their highways via Nathu La, a mountain pass in the Himalayas, trading cost will drop enormously. Nathu La is located 460 kilometers from Lhasa, and there are several highways from this historical place to northern India, eastern Nepal and northern Bangladesh.

This trade route boasts great potential. The India-China trade volume in 1957 amounted to a peak of 110 million silver dollars at Nathu La Pass, accounting for more than 80 percent of the total bilateral trading volume.

Another route, which extends about 500 kilometers, could connect Tengchong, Yunnan Province, to Ledo in northeastern India via Myitkyina in Myanmar.

Many businessmen from Myanmar have been transporting Chinese goods to India through this passage over recent years, and there are a variety of Chinese-made products in the markets across India-Myanmar border areas.

Interconnections between western China and northeastern India will not only benefit the two countries, but also be conducive to the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor that is now being discussed. Plus, it can help shape a critical economic circle to provide more vigor and dynamism to Asia and the whole world.

In addition, the political role of the new economic zone can not afford to be neglected. As complicated conflicts often occur among a number of ethnic minorities and tribal groups there, it will be difficult to push forward political reconciliation if economic development remains sluggish.

Economic growth is the foundation of addressing these problems, and providing real benefits for the people will facilitate the process of negotiations over the border. Investment and ideas that advance China-India economic and trade cooperation are far more important than building army posts and deploying artillery and planes.

The author is a senior editor with People’s Daily. He is now stationed in Brazil 


China opens new highway near Arunachal Pradesh border

November 1, 2013


Nearly 1 billion Yuan project comes to light after seven failed attempts over the past 50 years


China on Thursday opened a new highway that links what the government has described as Tibet’s “last isolated county” – located near the border with Arunachal Pradesh – with the rest of the country and will now provide all-weather access to the strategically-important region.

Chinese state media have hailed the opening of the highway to Medog – which lies close to the disputed eastern section of the border with India – as a technological breakthrough, with the project finally coming to fruition after seven failed attempts over the past fifty years.

China first started attempting to build the highway to Medog – a landlocked county in Tibet’s Nyingchi prefecture – in the 1960s, according to State media reports, in the aftermath of the 1962 war with India.

With Thursday’s opening of the road, every county in Tibet is now linked through the highway network, underlining the widening infrastructure gulf across the disputed border, even as India belatedly pushes forward an upgrading of border roads in more difficult terrain.

The official Xinhua News Agency on Thursday described Medog as “the last roadless county in China”. Before this week, Medog was the only one of China’s 2,100 counties to remain isolated from the highway network, according to State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

What the project will do

State media reports have focused on the development benefits that the project would bring and have sought to play down the strategic dimensions. Local officials said the road’s opening will bring down commodity prices and widen access to healthcare.

The road will also provide access to the border county for nine months of the year. That the government was willing to spend as much as 950 million Yuan – or $ 155 million – on a 117-km highway, with ostensibly few economic returns expected, has underscored the project’s importance to State planners.

Local officials said prior to the opening of the highway, reaching Medog required traversing the treacherous Galung La and Doxong La mountains at an altitude of 4,000 metres. With frequent landslides, the road was often rendered impassable.

Now, the road will be accessible for “8 to 9 months per year, barring major natural disasters”, Ge Yutao, Communist Party head of the transportation department for the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), told Xinhua.

Work on the 117-km road began in 2009, a year after the project was given the green light by the State Council, or Cabinet.

Renewed attention on infrastructure projects

The opening of the road comes at a time when there has been renewed attention on infrastructure projects in border areas in India and China.

Last week, both countries signed a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing, aimed at expanding confidence-building measures. The agreement calls for setting up channels of communication between military commands, increasing the number of border personnel meetings, and formalising rules such as no tailing of patrols, to built trust and avoid incidents.

The agreement does not specify or limit either country’s plans to boost infrastructure – an issue that, analysts say, has in the past triggered tensions along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), most notably in April when a Chinese incursion sparked a three-week-long stand-off in Depsang, Ladakh.

Han Hua, a South Asia scholar at Peking University, suggested in a recent interview that the “basic reason” for the incident was “too much construction” along the border. The Chinese side, she acknowledged, did not have to build closer to the disputed LAC because their infrastructure, as well as more favourable terrain enabled quicker mobilisation.

“If we don’t have the overall collaboration of the military, policy-makers and decision-makers on both sides,” she said, “it will be difficult to avoid such incidents”.

‘India’s plans will not be limited’

The BDCA, Indian officials said, will not limit India’s plans to upgrade infrastructure. It recognises the principle of equal and mutual security, which allows either side to pursue its security in its own way. At the same time, officials say the BDCA will still help “regulate activity” along the border by opening up new channels of communication, even as the border continues to remain a matter of dispute.

On Thursday, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun told a regular press conference that military personnel would hold “regular meetings” and “make joint efforts” to maintain peace in border areas, following the signing of the BDCA. The agreement, he said according to a Xinhua report, “summarised good practices and experiences on the management of differences in China-India border areas”.


Build highways to China, South-East Asia

October 24, 2013

By ET Bureau |


The proposed highway, starting from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand, will pass through Myanmar.

The proposed highway, starting from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand, will pass through Myanmar.


Commerce minister Anand Sharma has said that work on a highway to link India with Myanmar and Thailand should start soon. This is welcome. But the government has to be more ambitious.The proposed highway, starting from Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand, will pass through Myanmar. It should also turn northwards and connect with Kunming, the biggest city of the province of Yunnan in China.

China is already working on ambitious highway-building projects linking coastal Myanmar to Yunnan and it makes great sense to link the highway from India with this. That way, trade would open up between eastern India all the way to landlocked southern China, Myanmar and Thailand. India should also negotiate with Bangladesh for this highway to pass through its territory.

That way, instead of terminating traffic and commerce in the northeast, the highway could run all the way to Kolkata. Once there, it would be easy to link the East-West Corridor with the India-Myanmar-China-Thailand highway.

Immense trade potential could open up if, say, Pune is connected to Kunming via one long, continuous highway. Along the way, goods can also be dropped off in markets in Bangladesh, the north-east, Myanmar and on to Thailand.

Southern Asia is among the world’s least-integrated regions. It was not always thus. Before Partition, south and south-east Asia was a closely networked hub of commerce and services. In the 1930s, the British built a road between Burma and southern China.

During WWII, American general Joe Stilwell built another one from Ledo in Assam to Kunming, to supply Chinese fighting the Japanese. The Stilwell road, too, should be revived, repaired and used extensively to boost trade and commerce between India, China and south-east Asia.


MOU signed between India and China on cooperation in roads and road transportation

October 24, 2013

MOU signed between India and China on cooperation in roads and road transportation





Bejing: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India and the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China, herein after referred to as the ‘Participants’,


Recognizing the significant mutual benefit that can be derived by the Participants from cooperation on roads and road transportation matters;


Recognizing the common objective of developing and promoting safe, efficient, cost effective and sustainable road transportation systems;


Recognizing the importance of roads and road transportation in the economic development process of each Participant country, within their respective national policy framework;


Have reached the following understanding:
Article 1
Principles and Objectives of Cooperation
1. Under the framework of this Memorandum of Understanding (‘Memorandum’), the Participants will undertake cooperation on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit.
2. The purpose of this Memorandum is to establish a long-term and effective relationship of communication and cooperation in Roads and Road Transportation.


Article 2
For the purpose of this Memorandum,
a. ‘Road ‘ means the National Highways of the respective countries.
b. ‘Road Transportation’ means transportation of both passengers and goods by road but excludes urban transport.


Article 3
Areas of Cooperation
The Participants will cooperate in the fields of roads and road transportation in the following areas:
a. Exchange and sharing of knowledge and cooperation in the areas of transportation technology, transport policy, for passenger and freight movement by roads;
b. Planning, administration and management of road infrastructure, technology and standards for roads/highways construction and maintenance;
c. Sharing of information and best practices for developing road safety plans and road safety intervention strategies, and outreach activities aimed at reducing deaths and injuries resulting from road accidents, through:
(i) Exchange and sharing of knowledge in Intelligent Transport System;
(ii) Sharing of information and best practices on increasing vehicle safety oversight, and safety fitness framework for the vehicle testing and certification system;
d. Sharing of knowledge and best practices in user fee (toll) related issues; including the modern system, technologies and methods of levying of user fee and collection including Electronic Toll Collection System;
e. Sharing of information in areas of improved technologies and materials in road and bridge construction, including joint research;
f. Sharing the experience on contractual frameworks, financing and procurement issues, particularly related to Public Private Partnerships (PPP) mode;
g. Any other area of bi-lateral cooperation, mutually agreed by the Participants.


Article 4
Ways of cooperation
1. The cooperation under this Memorandum will be carried out through the following ways:
a. Consultations at expert level about specific cooperation issues upon the requests of the Participants;
b. Organizing exchange visits for technical experts;
c. Organizing technical exchanges by way of joint organization of workshops/ seminars/conferences, etc;
d. Exchange of relevant technical materials in accordance with the provisions of the respective laws and regulations and information of policies, laws and regulations;
e. Mutual provision of information relating to transport infrastructure construction projects in their own country;
f. To undertake relevant scientific and technical research in the institutes from both countries including joint research in the identified areas of cooperation.
g. Any other method of cooperation as mutually agreed upon.
2. Whenever necessary, the Participants will discuss and jointly determine the detailed arrangement of the cooperation activities specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article.


Article 5
1. Coordination Organizations:
International Cooperation Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of the Republic of India and Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China will carry out the coordination of activities under this Memorandum;
2. Implementation Mechanism:
a. The Participants agree to constitute a Joint Working Group (JWG) to oversee the implementation of this Memorandum and to identify specific cooperation activities and services under this Memorandum.
b. The JWG will deal with all questions related to the implementation of this Memorandum and resolve the difficulties that might arise in the course of implementation of this Memorandum.
c. The members of this JWG will be nominated by the Participants. The JWG will meet, as per mutual agreement, alternately in China and in India.
d. Where possible and appropriate, the Participants will facilitate the involvement of other institutions and organizations in the cooperation activities under this Memorandum, both in the government and private sectors.


Article 6
The Participants agreed that each government shall bear its own administrative costs for the implementation of this Memorandum. Specific financial procedures will be negotiated for certain cooperation activities as needed. Any contract or separate detailed arrangements for such activities will be jointly determined by the Participants.


Article 7
1. The Participants agreed that prior approval shall be sought of the other participant before the use of any publicity or presentational material by any of the Participants and executive agencies as are allowed to participate under Article 4 of this Memorandum.
2. Scientific and Technical information of a non-proprietary nature derived from the cooperative activities conducted under this Memorandum may be made available to the public through customary channels and, in accordance with, the normal procedures of the Participants, and other governmental entities involved in the cooperative activities.


Article 8
Information and documentation received by either of the Participants as a result of cooperation under this Memorandum within their respective regulatory and legislative framework will not be given to a third party without the prior written consent of the originator. The Participants accept that either Participant may be subject to legal obligations concerning the disclosure of information relating to this Memorandum within their respective regulatory and legislative framework but will nonetheless ensure the other Participant is informed prior to any disclosure subject to the provisions for ‘Confidentiality’ under this Memorandum, wherever applicable.


Article 9
Any dispute about the interpretation or application of this Memorandum will be resolved by consultations between the Participants, and will not be referred to any national or international tribunal or third party for settlement. If the Participants are unable to resolve the dispute, either Participant may terminate this Memorandum in accordance with Article 11 or such shorter period as may be decided between the Participants.


Article 10
Nature of the Memorandum
1. This Memorandum is not legally binding on either of the Participants.
2. This Memorandum will not generate any public/international law obligations for the Participants.
3. All activities developed under this Memorandum are subject to existing laws and regulations of the respective country of the Participants, and to the availability of necessary funds and resources.


Article 11
Entry into Force, Validity, Termination, Interpretation and Amendment
The Participants agree to the following provisions:


1. Entry into Force : 
This Memorandum shall enter into force on the date of its signature and will remain valid for a period of five years and shall be extended by another five years, upon their mutual written consent, at least six(6) months before expiry of the validity of this Memorandum.


2. Amendment to the Memorandum: 
This Memorandum may be amended by mutual written consent of the Participants. Any amendments thereto shall enter into force on the date of signing of such consent.


3. Termination Provision: 
a. The Memorandum may be terminated by either of the Participants at any time by giving sixty (60) days advance written notice to the other Participant.
b. Unless otherwise agreed in written form, the termination of this MOU shall not affect the validity of any ongoing project or activity implemented in accordance with this Memorandum.
c. The Participants will determine how the outstanding matters should be dealt with on the basis of mutual consultation.



‘Southern silk road’ linking China and India seen as key to boosting ties

October 23, 2013

Ancient trade route between India and China seen offering huge economic potential but New Delhi worries over security implications

Debasish Roy Chowdhury in New Delhi 
Illustration: Adolfo Arranz

An ancient trade route where old suspicions intersect opportunities for trade and exchange between Asia’s two giants will be in focus during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Beijing trip, with China wanting India to fast-track an ambitious regional project.

Beijing is keen to develop a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor along the “southern silk route” that extends from Yunnan to India. The route, dating back to second century BC, would shorten travel time, cut transport costs, provide landlocked Yunnan province with access to the Bay of Bengal, open up markets and create production bases along the way.

The plan for the BCIM corridor is also at the centre of Premier Li Keqiang’s offer of a “handshake across the Himalayas”. It was during Li’s visit to India this year that the corridor first found mention in official statements, even though it was mooted more than a decade ago.

India, on the other hand, is fearful of the security implications of allowing China direct access to its border states and being overrun by China’s more developed economy. But several Indian experts see in the BCIM plan the promise of economic salvation for the country’s impoverished northeastern states and are urging the government to seize the opportunity.

“As Yunnan is the most advanced in the cluster, India fears that it will become BCIM’s economic centre, with the rest of the region reduced to its periphery,” says Binoda Kumar Mishra, the director of India’s Centre for Studies in International Relations and Development.

Mishra is also the secretary-general of the Kolkata to Kunming (K2K) Forum, one of the organisations behind the first K2K car rally, which crossed the route that makes up the heart of the proposed BCIM corridor.

Land connections – through the central Asian silk route and the Yunnan-India southern silk route – were what drove trade between ancient India and China. In second century BC, Zhang Qian, a Han-dynasty envoy to central Asia, reported that goods from Sichuan and other southwestern regions of the empire were reaching Bactria (present-day Afghanistan) through India. By the seventh century, the route had become a bustling channel for trade and migration.

According to Tansen Sen, the author of Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations, there was robust activity along the route during the first half of the 20th century. “Chinese merchants dealing in tea and horses connected southwestern China, Tibet, east and northeast India,” Sen says.

During the second world war, the land route was re-established from Kunming to Ledo in India’s Assam state through the Stilwell Road to support Chinese and allied soldiers fighting the Japanese. It is the shortest land route between northeast India and southwest China.

China was keen to reopen that road, but as the Indian Army was wary it might give China a tactical advantage in case of conflict, China has turned its attention to an alternative – a longer route that runs from Kunming to Imphal in northeast India through Ruili in Yunnan and Mandalay in Myanmar. But even that has failed to allay the fears of Indian strategic analysts, who point to China’s involvement with rebel groups in India’s northeast in the past.

“A BCIM road would give China an opportunity to influence insurgencies in the region. China did this until 1986,” says R. Hariharan, a retired colonel at the Chennai Centre for China Studies, even as he acknowledges the corridor’s economic potential.

Merchants dealing in tea and horses linked China and India

The idea of BCIM is to first put in place a highway system along the land route and then turn it into an economic corridor with trading entrepots, tourism infrastructure and manufacturing hubs, possibly hosting production lines displaced from China and creating jobs along the corridor. But the sheer logistics of the 1.65 million square kilometre corridor, encompassing an estimated 440 million people, worry Ravi Bhoothalingam, who is on the Indian government’s panel on BCIM.

“The area is huge, ecologically complex, ethnically diverse and needs the co-operation of multiple administrations,” he says. “All these issues need to be studied.”

To some, like Subir Bhaumik, the author of Troubled Periphery: Crisis of India’s Northeast, that sounds like foot-dragging and “classic Indian insecurity”. Bhaumik, who says a strong defence and commerce ministry lobby in India is blocking BCIM, turns the logic of security concerns on its head.

“The corridor would give China a stake in the Indian economy and hence give it more incentive to maintain peace on the border,” he argues.

India must move on and open up these trade routes, says Sen, who sees in BCIM a chance to revive the commercial bustle of yore.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Bumps on the Silk Road

India, China to sign road pact during PM’s visit

October 19, 2013

Moushumi Das Gupta , Hindustan Times

Impressed with China’s highways infrastructure and superior standards for construction and maintenance, a bilateral pact on cooperation in the road transportation sector is set to be signed between the two countries during PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to China next week.

At 65,000 km China has world’s second largest network of expressways. So far, however, China has a limited presence in India’s highway sector. Only six Chinese companies, under joint ventures with Indian firms, are  involved in building highways. All six companies have participated and won the bids for the projects.

The broad area where India wants to seek cooperation includes management of road infrastructure technology, standards for highway construction and maintenance, road safety intervention strategies aimed at reducing death and injuries resulting from road accidents, etc. India also wants to know more on how China has dealt with contractual issues and financing of highways build in public private partnership mode.

India and China can bond along the Stilwell Road

October 18, 2013

Subir Bhaumik

(Beijing hopes that India…)


During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s India visit in May, India agreed to “explore the possibilities of the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor” with China. But New Delhi is going slow on this. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits China this month, the Chinese will push for the BCIM plan. China has already been in discussion with Myanmar and Bangladesh to take this forward. During Singh’s Beijing visit, China will also offer to declare Kunming and Kolkata as sister cities to carry forward the process.

 It is New Delhi and not states in the east or north-east that fear Chinese trade and investments along the corridor. This trade can only boost their economies. The opening of the Stilwell Road, built during World War II, is a case in point. Assam’s industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi and Arunachal Pradesh’s former governor J J Singh have been enthusiastic about opening the road to China-India trade. Unlike the Nathu La pass in Sikkim, the Stilwell Road is capable of handling 20-25 per cent of Sino-Indian bilateral trade. But a powerful defence-commerce ministry lobby has blocked it all these years.

China has modernised its part of the road and its companies are doing that in Myanmar now. Only 66 km of the road falls in India — so, if the Chinese army uses it to amass troops on the Indian border for a surprise offensive or dump their products in a trade war, they can do it even if India does not formally open the road. Also, trade with India via Arunachal Pradesh will immediately stop all claims of that region as “southern Tibet”.

Note how quickly China shed its reservations on Sikkim, after trade resumed through the Nathu La pass. JJ Singh, a former army chief, advocated an Indian presence on the road for pragmatic reasons, but that did not help with the mandarins in Delhi. So, an alternate route was chosen for the BCIM car rally in February-March: it started at Kolkata, passed through Bangladesh and India’s north-eastern states of Assam and Manipur, and ended in Kunming, Yunnan via west and north Myanmar.

Now, China wants the car rally route to be converted into the BCIM Friendship highway and turned into an economic corridor with industries, trading entrepots and tourism infrastructure developed around it. This is an excellent idea. Large parts of China, contiguous with south Asia, are landlocked. The Strait of Malacca is a choke point that China wants to bypass through overland trade through Myanmar, Bangladesh and the north-east. Beijing wants to transform BCIM into a live regional grouping to integrate the two most populous nations of the world and use the Bangladesh-Myanmar corridor to help Chindia draw south-east Asia into the world’s strongest future economic bloc. Beijing hopes that India sheds its fear of encirclement by China and creates a win-win situation for both countries in Asia, from south-east to west.

India, especially its eastern and north-eastern states, would stand to gain much more economically by higher trade and connectivity with China and the rest of Asia. On the other hand, there is no material gain if India acts as a pivot for American interests in south Asia.

A formal push for the BCIM during Manmohan Singh’s China visit may boost investments and help chief ministers or industry ministers in the east and north-east to showcase their states to Chinese investors. If the home ministry can waive its objections and agree to allow Chinese telecom majors like Huawei to invest in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor or the Indian embassy in Beijing can rope in huge Chinese investments for Andhra Pradesh, the east and north-east should not be deprived because the region has a long border with China.





India, China to sign cooperation pact in road sector

September 12, 2013

Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN |


NEW DELHI: 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 six-seven 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.


Beijing to impose car congestion fee to tackle pollution by 2017

September 10, 2013



 Following the footsteps of bigger metropolitan cities like London, Milan and Tokyo, Beijing is set to implement the car congestion fee in order to cut down on air pollution by 2017.

Car emissions are believed to be the root cause for one-third of air pollutants in the city and also lead to a lot of congestion in certain areas and with this move, the Chinese capital hopes to limit car use in the center of the city.

According to China Daily, the congestion charge would be levied mainly on vehicles in the downtown area and will be set out in the near future by the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau and Beijing Commission of Transport.

Spokesman for the bureau, Fang Li said that whoever pollutes the air is responsible to clean it up and next year the capital will also see ban on private cars at certain times and areas.

Air pollution incharge at the bureau Yu Jianhua said that the government will hold public hearings before the implementation of the congestion fee and regional vehicle restriction, and will widely gauge public opinion.

Residents are reluctant for such a fee as they believe that the restriction on private vehicles would be inconvenient and suggest government cars take the lead and compensation be given to car users.

Under the new restriction, to be carried out in 2014, vehicles from outside Beijing will be forbidden from entering the Sixth Ring Road unless with permission, the report added.




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