Indo-Bangla meeting on river transit in April

United News of Bangladesh | Published: 16:09, Mar 18,2018 | Updated: 16:13, Mar 18,2018

 
 

Bangladesh and India have agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade which was signed in 1972.

The proposed high-level meeting on the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between Bangladesh and India next month is expected to finalise its Standard Operating Procedures, reports the Hindustan Times quoting an official in Kolkata.

Once the PIWTT SoP is in place, inland waterways will boost trade to the north eastern states and Bangladesh from Kolkata, Inland Waterways Authority of India vice-chairman Pravir Pandey said.

‘A meeting is expected next month. There is no hurdle as such. A standard operating procedure has to be finalised and the meeting will try to complete that,’ he said.

The two countries had agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), which was signed in 1972.

The National Waterway one (NW -1) will connect the North East through Indo-Bangla protocol route. It will reduce the distance from about 1,700 km via Siliguri in north Bengal to about 500 km via Bangladesh, he said.

The route will also open up opportunity for Bangladesh trade through Haldia port and lessen congestion at Chittagong port in Bangladesh.

In the protocol route, Rs 3,500 crore (US$ 538.312 million) dredging project has been undertaken and the cost will be shared at 80:20 between India and Bangladesh.

In the protocol route, dredging would be required mainly in some stretches under Sirajganj to Doikhawa route on Brahmaputra-Jamuna river in Bangladesh and also under Ashuganj to Karimganj to improve the navigability, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's Director (Marine safety and Traffic management) Md Shafiqul Haque had said earlier.

India is developing the NW-1 under the Jal Marg Vikas Project with assistance from the World Bank.

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