Small vessel with first consignment leaves from Bangladesh for Tripura Credit: File Image

Agartala: The Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways (independent charge), Mansukh Mandaviya, who arrived in Agartala on Saturday, said that a permanent jetty with other facilities would be built in Sonamura shortly.

Speaking at a press conference, Mandaviya said that the development of the Sonamura-Daudkhandi waterways would generate jobs and boost export and import of trade between Bangladesh and northeastern states.

“I will inspect the proposed site for construction of the permanent RCC jetty and see the available facilities in the Sonamura port. The foundation stone for the permanent jetty would be laid within next two-three months,” Mandaviya said.

Also Read: Tripura: Ports minister to inspect proposed site for jetty construction

The Sonamura-Daudkhandi stretch of Gumti River (93 km) was approved as the India-Bangladesh protocol route on May 21, 2020, 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 the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh.

Mandaviya said that the dredging of the protocol route has already started in the Bangladesh side to facilitate the carriage of more water in the protocol route so that barges and small vessels can move round the year.

Earlier, Tripura built a temporary floating jetty on the river in July last year as part of the Indo-Bangla international inland waterways connectivity project. Of the total 90 km stretch, around 89.5 km area falls under Bangladesh side.

Also Read: Tripura: Indo-Bangla protocol route gets operational as trial-run vessel reaches Sonamura

Speaking further, the union minister said that currently, ships and steams ply between Haldia in West Bengal to Daudkandi in Bangladesh, which is roughly 80 km from Tripura’s Sonamura port in Sepahijala district.

“All together 4,000 km inland waterways are being developed. From Vanaras to Haldia port 1,400 km, Haldia to Sundarban 200 km, Sundarban to Yamuna river 800 km and Yamuna to Brahmaputra river in Assam 890 km for smooth movement of ships,” Mandaviya added.

He further added that Bangladesh and India earlier signed an agreement for a protocol route connecting Chittagong, Mongla and Haldia ports and Tripura would be well connected with the rest of the country and Bangladesh, when Sonamura-Daudkandi waterways would be fully connected with the Chittagong port.

Also Read: Tripura: Traders’ body demands trial run on Sonamura-Daudkandi protocol route

The Chittagong port is just 70 km from Sabroom, a town near the Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura’s South district and is well connected to Agartala by roads and railways now, he opined.

Mandaviya also spoke about the union budget and said that for the first time since independence Rs 1,18,000 crore will be spent on road infrastructure.

“The health budget has been increased from Rs 97 lakh crore to Rs 2.15 lakh crore so that even those in fur flung areas get the medical aid. Keeping all this in mind the government has focused on spending money in generating employment and boosting the economy,” Mandaviya added.

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