AGARTALA, June 12 - Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has asked the Transport Department to hold a meeting with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to give a thrust to the ambitious Indo-Bangla waterway project.
The waterway project will connect the Gomati river in the State with the Meghna river of Bangladesh to get access to the Ashuganj port for transportation of goods.
At a Planning Department meeting, the Chief Minister was briefed on the report of the Joint Technical Committee on the 15-km inland waterway project. The report recommends dredging on a 15-km stretch to operationalise the proposed waterway for sailing of small and medium-sized vessels.
Of this 15-km stretch, around 13 km lies in Bangladesh while only 2 km is on the Indian side.
“The Chief Minister was briefed on the report of the Joint Technical Committee prepared on the basis of the hydrographic study carried out on March 12 and 13,” said Transport Secretary L Darlong here today.
He said the Chief Minister is keen on operationalising the waterway project at the earliest as it could be a game changer in the State’s communication system.
“Since the State has limited resources, we are of the opinion that the Centre must come forward to bear the expenditure to undertake dredging of an area of 15 km on both sides,” he said.
Darlong said he would take up the issue with the IWAI to get the project executed as early as possible. A technical committee of the Ministry of Shipping had already visited Srimantapur area of Sepahijala district to assess the position just before the Lok Sabha elections.
The State Government wants a jetty to be built at the Srimantapur LCS to handle the business through the proposed waterway project. If the project materialises, Sonamura will become a gateway to some North East States for transport of goods from Haldia to Sonamura via Dawodkandi.