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India, Bangla sign protocol on inland water transit, trade
Kalyan Barooah
 NEW DELHI, May 22 - India and Bangladesh today signed a second addendum to the protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in Dhaka that has special significance for Northeast.

According to sources, High Commissioner of India in Dhaka Riva Das Ganguly and Secretary of shipping ministry of Bangladesh Md Mezbahuddin Chowdhury signed the second addendum to the protocol on inland water transit and trade between the two countries. This new river route will help the landlocked northeastern States immensely as it would reduce the goods transportation time from the mainland of the country.

According to the addendum document, the number of India-Bangladesh Protocol routes has being increased from 8 to 10.

The agreement also operationalises five new ports of call between India and Bangladesh to facilitate docking of vessels in each others’ country. Among the newly added ports of call in the Indian side are Jogigopha (Assam), Dhulian (Murshidabad-West Bengal), Kolaghat (West Bengal) and Sonamura (Tripura).

Inclusion of Jogigopha in Assam and Bahadurbad in Bangladesh as new ports of call will create connectivity to Assam, Meghalaya, and even to neighbouring countries like Bhutan. As the two countries have agreed to introduce trade between Chilmari of Bangladesh and Dhubri in India, the shallow draft mechanized vessels can be used for ferrying cargos.

Under this protocol, inland vessels of both the countries can ply on the designated protocol route and dock at ports of call in both the countries, notified for loading and unloading of cargo. There has been significant improvement in the movement of cargo vessels in an organised manner on the protocol route carrying both the transit cargo to Northeast region and vice-versa and export cargo to Bangladesh.

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