Agartala, May 21 : Tripura government welcomed the second addendum of protocol on Inland Water Transit and trade between India and Bangladesh through the 93 kilometre stretch of Gomati River connecting Sonamura (Tripura) – Daudkandi (Bangladesh).
The issue of inland water connectivity between two countries through the Gomati River has widely been discussed for the past many years but could not materialise even after signing protocol agreements. However, last week Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb in a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reminded it followed by a letter on May 14 last. Six days after Chief Minister’s request, the decision has come as the second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade was signed at Dhaka on Wednesday by High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das and Secretary to Ministry of Shipping, Republic of Bangladesh Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury.
The Protocol route will improve the connectivity of northeast and would make Tripura as a major economic corridor of the region; Deb stated adding that it will help the development of both the countries to a great extent and also boost the bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh. “I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his dynamic leadership and prompt action for the development of Tripura and Northeast region as a whole. The central government is committed to the holistic development of the region and so many initiatives have been undertaken, which has started yielding fruits,” Deb said. According to the report, there are six ports of call each in India and Bangladesh and Sonamura – Daudkandi water protocol route would add connectivity in those ports. While Kolkata, Haldia, Karimganj, Pandu, Silghat, and Dhubri river ports are on the Indian side, Narayanganj, Khulna, Mongla, Sirajganj, Ashuganj, and Pangaon on the Bangladesh side.
Under the inland waterways protocol river bed of Gomati will be navigated proportionate to River Meghna of Bangladesh for facilitating small vessels to move easily and Tripura would get access to the sea. The Indian transit cargo of coal, fly-ash, petroleum products, fertilizers, cement, food grains, agricultural products and over-dimensional cargos for power projects in Northeast region would be easier and cost-effective as soon as River Gomati gets connected in waterways. Around 638 inland vessels including 600 Bangladeshi flag vessels completed with approximately 4,000 loaded voyages annually. These additions to the protocol will greatly facilitate the bilateral trade, with improved reliability and cost-effectiveness for the business community and the people of both the countries. (UNI)