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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Inland waterways transport with Bangladesh to start in 3-4 months: Tripura CM

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb today visited Sonamura and different parts of Sepahijala district as part of his inspection tour of quarantine centres set up at village level to accommodate people who are facing difficulties in-home quarantine.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: May 29, 2020 6:30:09 pm
A delegation of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) visited Tripura earlier in 2018 and surveyed three plots of land near Srimantapur Land Custom Station (LCS) to build a boat jetty.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Friday said that ships would start ferrying goods through the inland waterways transport route on River Gomati in three months as part of a forthcoming waterways communication project with Bangladesh.

The CM today visited Sonamura and different parts of Sepahijala district as part of his inspection tour of quarantine centers set up at village level to accommodate people who are facing difficulties in-home quarantine. During his visit today, Deb visited a proposed spot at Sonamura, where an inland waterways connectivity project is supposed to be commissioned.

“Both India and Bangladesh signed an agreement on this issue before. Both countries have decided to start work amidst the pandemic. I thank them for this initiative. I hope ships will start operating out of a temporary jetty being set up here in next 3-4 months,” the Chief Minister told reporters after his visit.

Deb also said that as its the monsoon season, River Gomati has sufficient water for movement of boats and small ships. However, the full-fledged operation would require a permanent jetty. So, a temporary jetty would be set up to handle traffic while work for the permanent would continue alongside. A permanent jetty will need around 3 years to be operational.

A delegation of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) visited Tripura earlier in 2018 and surveyed three plots of land near Srimantapur Land Custom Station (LCS) to build a boat jetty and a warehouse. A terminal building would also be constructed for customs check of imported goods from Bangladesh.

The plan includes dredging the riverbed of Gomati to make way for small ships and boats from Sonamura till Ashuganj river port of Bangladesh, which is only 60 Km away, during the winters. However, testing for the waterway route would be done during this monsoon season itself, Deb told.

Small boats and ferries capable of carrying 50-ton goods are also expected to run through this route as soon as the temporary jetty is ready within the next 3-4 months.

The Sonamura-Daudkandi route on Tripura’s River Gomati is part of the new Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes signed between High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Md. Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury at Dhaka on May 20.

Deb also said he hopes the inland waterway route with Bangladesh will help strengthen bilateral trades between both countries and boost the state’s economy to emerge as the gateway to Northeast.

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