Agartala: With the signing of the 2nd Addendum on protocol on inland water transit and trade between India and Bangladesh, the Sonamura- Daudkhandi stretch of Gumti river (93 km) was approved as the India-Bangladesh protocol route, informed Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
Taking to Twitter, Deb said, “On behalf of the people of Tripura I thank @PMOIndia Shri @narendramodi ji & Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina for approving the Sonamura – Daudkhandi route as an Indo – Bangladesh protocol route. This route will boost State’s economy and Tripura will emerge as the gateway of Northeast.”
A press statement issued from the chief minister’s office informed that this protocol route will strengthen bilateral trades of both countries, boost state’s economy and help Tripura emerge as the gateway to Northeast.
Earlier, CM Deb had written a letter to Prime Minister and also held discussion on the issue during a video conferencing on May 14 last to approve the protocol route between the two countries.
The decision came six days after chief minister appealed as the 2nd addendum to the protocol on inland water transit and trade was signed in Dhaka on Wednesday by Riva Ganguly Das, high commissioner of India in Bangladesh, and Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, secretary to ministry of shipping, Bangladesh.
“The protocol route will improve the connectivity of Tripura and adjoining states with Bangladesh’s economic centres and will help the hinterland of both the countries to a great extent and also boost the bilateral trade between both the countries. This route will connect all existing IBP routes,” the press statement read.
The press statement also cited that under the current protocol, there are six ports of call each in India and Bangladesh.
These are Kolkata, Haldia, Karimganj, Pandu, Shilghat and Dhubri on Indian side and Narayanganj, Khulna, Mongla, Sirajganj, Ashuganj and Pangaon on Bangladesh side.
“The newly added five ports of call on Indian side are: Dhulian, Maia, Kolaghat, Sonamura and Jogigopha and on Bangladesh side are: Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Chilmari, Daudkandi and Bahadurabad. Further, two more extended ports of call – Tribeli (Bandel) and Badarpur on Indian side and Ghorasal and Muktarpur on Bangladesh side – have been added through this addendum, increasing the number to eleven ports of call and two extended ports of call in both the countries,” the press statement added.
Besides, inclusion of Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh as a new port of call will provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam and Bhutan. Now, Jogigopha also became important since a multimodal logistics park is proposed to be established there. The new ports of call would enable the loading and unloading of cargo transported on the India-Bangladesh protocol route and provide a stimulus to the economic development of the new locations and their hinterland.
The Indian transit cargo is mainly coal, fly-ash, POL and ODC for power projects in Northeast region. The other potential cargo for movement is fertilizers, cement, food grains, agricultural products, containerised cargo, etc. The export cargo from India to Bangladesh is mainly fly-ash which is to the tune of 30 lakh MT per annum. 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,” the press statement added.