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Cement consignment from Bangladesh to reach Tripura through water route
SPL Correspondent

A Tripura Government official inspecting the water level of the Gomati river as a goods essel from Bangladesh is scheduled to arrive in September. – Photo: Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Aug 27 - A consignment of 50 MT of cement is expected to reach Tripura from Bangladesh on September 3 through the inland waterway. The first consignment of its kind is being despatched by Premier Cement Limited of Bangladesh.

 Sources said the cement consignment would proceed from Daudkandi in Bangladesh to Sonamura in Tripura in a vessel named MV Premier belonging to Bangladesh. The total length of the route – Daudkandi to Sonamura – is 93 km on the Gomati river. Customs formalities will be conducted at the LCS Srimantapur-Bibirbazar. Bangladesh gave permission for the pilot run on August 24.

The sources said that the protocol for Inland Water Trade and Transit (PIWT&T) was signed between India and Bangladesh in 1972 to provide inland waterway connectivity between the two countries for bilateral trade as well as to improve the connectivity to the North Eastern States through waterways. In 2019-2020, approximately 3.5 MMT of cargo was transported between India and Bangladesh on the protocol routes.

The scope of PIWT&T has been further expanded by the signing of the second addendum to the PIWT&T on May 20 this year. With this, two new protocol routes, five new ports of call and second extended ports of call have been added. This takes the number of protocol routes to 10, ports of call to 11 and extended ports of call to two, said the sources.

The Inland Water Authority of India has been discussing with the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority for early operationalisation of the newly added PIWT&T routes 9 and 10. The first pilot movement on this route is likely to be conducted on September 3, said the sources.

The sources said that the operationalisation of the new protocol routes would greatly facilitate bilateral trade with improved reliability and cost effectiveness for the business community and people of both the countries.

The sources pointed out that the excellent connectivity provided by the existing and newly added protocol routes is all the more pertinent in the present COVID-19 scenario as it will be instrumental in providing economical, faster, safer and greener mode of transport for traders and business communities of both the countries. It will also have environmental benefits for the region.

It may be mentioned that it is not a transhipment operation, but a regular export-import cargo movement using the inland waterway.

The sources pointed out that the inclusion of the Sonamura-Daukandi stretch of the Gomati river as a protocol route would improve connectivity of Tripura and adjoining States with the trade centres of both India and Bangladesh. This route will also connect all the existing IBP routes.

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