- Bringing a new twist to the story of Iran’s Chabahar-Zahedan railway project, Iran’s Railway Minister said that Iran and India are “determined to continue” cooperation on the railway line.
- Now this remark straightaway contradicts the previous official remark which stated that India was not a part of Chabahar rail project.
- “Considering the history of cooperation between the two countries and the existing potentials and capacities, Iran and India are determined to continue their cooperation in the field of rail transport, especially the Zahedan-Chabahar railway, because the development of cooperation between the two countries in this area,” said the Iranian Railways head Saeed Rasouli.
- Rail Minister said this in a meeting with Indian Ambassador to Iran Gaddam Dharmendra on Monday.
WHY INDIA NOT IN INAUGURATION
- Before this the Iranian govt had started the track laying operation for the 628 km line from Chabahar port to Zahedan on the border with Afghanistan without Indian railway construction company IRCON’s participation.
- The Ministry of External Affairs says that it had heard back from Iran on a request to “finalise outstanding technical and financial issues” since December 2019.
- As of now the project after Monday’s meeting also is in the doldrums. It’s very unlikely that there would have been any progress on the project since December last year.
- The MEA and Iranian Embassy in Delhi declined to make any further comments to the new development.
- Meanwhile, another Iranian official also said last week that India was not a part of the inauguration as it had not signed the Chabahar-Zahedan rail agreement, despite a previous 2016 MoU between Iranian railway infrastructure company CDTIC and Indian railway construction company IRCON.
It’s all OK
- Iran has only signed two agreements with Indians for investment in Chabahar: one is related to port’s machinery and equipment, and the second is related to India’s investment to the tune of $150m,” said Farhad Montaser, deputy on Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization.
- “We had a list of Indian investments in Chabahar port, which also included the issue of Chabahar railway infrastructure and the railway, but during the negotiations it was not agreed,” Mr. Montaser.
- When asked about the decision to go ahead alone, Iranian diplomatic officials had cited Indian delays and the impact of U.S. sanctions.
- The officials had said the Chabahar Zahedan rail line is “currently under construction by Iranian funding and engineering capacities” given the “absence of India’s active engagement and partnership”, and had said that India was welcome to join at a “later date”.
2. Rajya Sabha passes Consumer Protection Bill
- The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
- The bill will establish authorities for the timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes.
- The Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, seeks to strengthen the rights of consumers and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints regarding defects in goods and deficiency in services.
A replacement for Consumer Protection Act,1986
- The Bill will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
- This new bill was expected to apply in January which was later shifted to March and then due to pandemic now it has been passed.
- The bill includes many new rules which add to the welfare of the consumer.
- Misleading ads will be liable to strict actions resulting in heavy penalty and jail.
- The Upper House also passed the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 for speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants of government residential accommodation.
- The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on July 31 last year.
- Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said, “Many of our colleagues, both in Parliament as well as in government service, somehow do not vacate the accommodation allotted to them. This naturally creates a strain on government accommodation.”