Agartala: The first vessel with consignment of around 50 tons of cement for Sonamura in India has left from Munshiganj Bangladesh, announced Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
Taking to twitter Deb informed, “First Vessel with consignment started its trial run today from Munshiganj, Bangladesh for Sonamura port, Tripura. With the successful run, Indo-Bangla waterways will open up new avenues for economic development in both the countries where Tripura will play an important role,” he wrote.
The small vessel in its first trial run started on Thursday left from Narayanganj through river Meghna in Bangladesh carrying 50 tons of cement from Premier Cement Company of Bangladesh.
Speaking with reporters, All Tripura Merchant Association (ATMA) general secretary, Sujit Roy said that a small vessel from Premier Cement Company has started its trial run for Sonamura port carrying cement on Thursday.
“It is an historic day for Tripura. A total of 5 crew members has left for Tripura for the first trial run, the vessel is supposed to reach Tripura on Saturday, however due to the flow of the river the vessel will take a little longer time to reach Tripura,” Roy said.
The Sonamura-Daudkhandi stretch of Gumti River (93 km) was approved as India-Bangladesh protocol route on May 21 with the signing of 2nd addendum in Dhaka by Riva Ganguly Das, high commissioner of India in Bangladesh, and Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, secretary to ministry of shipping, Bangladesh.
Earlier on August 24, chief minister informed that the trial run in the Sonamura-Daudkandi inland waterways protocol route would be conducted in the first week of September.
During the trial run, 50 MT cement will be transported in a barge from Dhaka to Sonamura. This is the first time any goods will be reaching Tripura by ship.
The Indo-Bangla traders on August 11 had demanded a trial run within August through the newly sanctioned inland waterways protocol route.
Visiting the port site where the work for commissioning the inland waterways connectivity On May 29, chief minister Deb said, “Both India and Bangladesh signed the agreement and have decided to start the trade amidst the pandemic. I hope that ships will start from the temporary jetty which is being set up in 3 to 4 months.”
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.
The chief minister on July 23 said that currently the state imports goods worth over Rs 645 crore, with exports at Rs 30 crore. “With the connectivity between the state, in next one year the export is likely to cross Rs 400 cr, and import would be of over Rs 2,000 crore, while in five years the import is likely to cross Rs 4,200 crore mark and export of over Rs 1,200 crore,” Deb added.