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DHAKA Thursday 13 February 2014, 1 Falgun 1420, BS 12 Rabius Sani 1435 HIJRI

India may ask for new waterways in Bangladesh
Publish Date : 2014-02-13,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 23
Saleem Samad
India is likely to request Bangladesh for new waterways to facilitate transportation of goods and machinery between the two countries.
Northeast Indian states have been exploring for alternative transportation which will be reliable, cheaper and efficient for movement of heavy machinery and bulk quantity goods.
Bangladesh traders exporting to north-eastern states believe the waterways transit to be sought by India will also increase the volume of trade between the two countries. The custom station at Agartala-Akhaura handled a trade worth Taka 3.07 billion (US$ 39.62 million).
Asenior official of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) told The Daily Observer Wednesday that they were aware of the Indian plan which will also benefit from the underutilised waterways, apart from road and rail transits already in effect.
Northeastern states have long been demanding Delhi to remove the impediments towards increasing trade and commerce with Bangladesh.
The official said India had earlier informally proposed to Bangladesh about the new waterways. The formal proposal would be officially submitted before the Bangladesh government soon.
It needs a political decision by Indian government to request Bangladesh to open its waterways for north-eastern states, said the BIWTA official.
The two neighbours share 54 rivers, including eight rivers flowing from Tripura alone. India and Bangladesh share 2,979 km of land border and 1,116 km of riverine boundary.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) recently conducted a survey for the new waterways between India's Tripura state and Bangladesh.
RITES has conducted the feasibility study to make new waterways between Tripura's Gomti and Howrah rivers and Bangladesh's Meghna and Titas rivers.
RITES have suggested a fund of IRs.470 million for developing three waterways including navigation on the Gomti and Howrah rivers.
Presently, Indian and Bangladeshi waterways are connecting West Bengal and Assam states and they are operating vessels on these routes.
The Tripura government had submitted a proposal to the central government for declaring the Gomti as a national waterway keeping in view the potential of linkage with the inland waterways of Bangladesh.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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