The 93-kilometer-long Sonamura in Tripura – Daudkhandi in Bangladesh stretch of the Gomati River has been approved as India-Bangladesh Protocol Route on May 20, 2020.
This will strengthen bilateral trades of both the countries as well as boost the economy of Tripura and help the state to emerge as the gateway to Northeast, sources said.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has conveyed his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina for fast approval of the protocol route.
With an appeal for speedy process to approve the protocol route, the Chief Minister had written a letter to the Prime Minister recently and then held a discussion on the issue with the Prime Minister during a video conferencing on May 14 last.
Within six days of Tripura Chief Minister’s appeal, the landmark decision has come as the 2nd addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade was signed at Dhaka on May 20th, 2020, by Riva Ganguly Das, High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh; and Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Secretary to Ministry of Shipping, Republic of 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 newly added five Ports of Call on the Indian side are Dhulian, Maia, Kolaghat, Sonamura, and Jogigopha and on the 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.
Besides, the inclusion of Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh as a new Port of Call will provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam, and Bhutan. It would enable the loading and unloading of cargo transported on the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route and provide a stimulus to the economic development of the new locations and their hinterland.
Under this Protocol, Inland vessels of both the countries can ply on the designated protocol route and dock at Ports of Call in each country, notified for loading/unloading of cargo. There has been significant improvement in the movement of cargo vessels in an organized manner on the Protocol route carrying both the transit cargo to the North East region of India and vice-versa and export-cargo to Bangladesh.
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