Aiming to strengthen the trade ties between Bangladesh and India, cargo vessel movement from Sultanganj in Godagari upazila in Rajshahi to Maya port in Murshidabad of India's West Bengal began on Monday.
State minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the cargo vessel movement from Sultanganj river port in Godagari upazila to Maya port in India's Murshidabad at 11 am under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
Sultanganj port is located at the tributary of the Padma and the Mahananda rivers.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) organized a programme marking the inauguration of goods transportation between the two countries.
Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) Mayor and presidium member of Bangladesh Awami League AHM Khairuzzaman Liton and, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma, MP of Rajshahi-1 constituency Omar Faruk were present as special guests at the ceremony.
BIWTA Chairman Commodore Arif Ahmed Mostafa presided over the programme.
Addressing the event, the state minister said, "Bangladesh is moving forward with the policy of friendship with all, malice to none. Relations between Bangladesh and India have reached a new height. Bangladesh is a role model of development. The world is looking at the development of Bangladesh with surprise."
RCC mayor Khairuzzaman said the route goes through Dhulijan in Murshidabad t of West Bengal, to Aricha ghat via Sultanganj, Rajshahi and Pakshi in Godagari upazila.
"The naval route remained abandoned for long due to negligence of the authorities and now it has become active," he said.
The route from Rajshahi to Aricha will be resumed later and a river port will be established in Rajshahi city.
Sources said, until the Indo-Pak war in 1965, trade with India through the route continued and the route was later closed.
Initially, stones, sand and various types of food items will be brought from India through this route.
Rajshahi is 32 kilometers away from Sultanganj by road. Sultanganj has direct road connectivity with greater Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogura, Sirajganj, Rangpur, Dinajpur in North and Faridpur, Kushtia, Khulna and Jessore in west-south region, according to the Shipping Ministry.
Through the Maya Port of Call of India, it will be possible to easily reach the imported goods to the districts and similarly it will be possible to export bulk cargo/goods of large consignments from these districts to India through Sultanganj Port of Call.
After the opening of Sultanganj Port of Call, infrastructure like jetty/gangway, godown, dumping area, parking area and modern goods handling crane, conveyor belt will be developed on the banks of the Padma River for transporting, storing and shifting goods in Sultanganj area. Massive naval commercial activities will be started in Godagari/Sultanganj and adjoining Rajshahi areas, it said.