NEW DELHI, July 4 - India and Bangladesh have agreed on the extension of the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) with the provision of automatic renewal in every five years.
The new route not only significantly reduces the circuitous distance of chicken-neck corridor (Siliguri) between mainland India and States in Northeastern region, but also reduces the overall transportation cost of the cargo considerably.
In a significant move recently, the new route witnessed the transit of 1004.410 MT of steel and TMT bars from Kolkata to Agartala via Ashuganj, Bangladesh. MV Newtek-6 sailed from Kolkata with steel and TMT bars and reached Ashuganj and was brought to Agartala through Akhuara Border. Transit and other fees as mutually agreed under the said protocol were paid at Khulna, Bangladesh.
Earlier, movement of Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) of the ONGC for Palatana power project and food grains were also transported to Tripura via Ashuganj inland port by Food Corporation of India.
Ashuganj in Bangladesh was declared as “Port of Call” under the PIWTT in May, 2010, for transshipment of bulk and break cargo to Tripura and other Northeastern States, including Manipur, Mizoram and lower Assam.
During the visit of Prime Minister to Bangladesh, a new version of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade was signed at Dhaka on June 6 between India and Bangladesh.