AGARTALA, May 3 � Bangladesh has agreed to allow India to use its waterways to Ashuganj river port on Meghna, about 37 km from here, for carrying food grains from Kolkata to Tripura.
Tripura Principal Secretary, Food and Civil Supply department BK Roy told reporters today that Bangladesh Government agreed to a request by the Centre to use its waterways up to Ashuganj port from Kolkata to carry 10,000 MT of food grains and more than 500 trucks would be engaged by that country�s government.
�We have been immensely benefitted as Bangladesh has given us this facility,� Roy said. Bangladesh had allowed India for carrying the same amount of grains last year, he added.
The distance between Kolkata and Agartala via hilly areas of Assam by surface transport is about 1,700 km, which is reduced to 350 km if the movement is through the plains of Bangladesh.
Currently, Indian and Bangladesh waterways connect West Bengal and Assam and Inland Waterways Authority of India and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority are operating vessels on these routes.
India has for long pressed for using Bangladeshi waterways and ports, especially for easy transport of goods from Kolkata and other mainland cities to Northeastern States through that country.
The multi-dimensional machines for the 726 MW gas- based thermal power project at Palatana in Tripura�s Gomati district, which started generation last year, were brought via Kolkata port by ship to Ashuganj port by using the waterways of India and Bangladesh and then from Ashuganj port to the site via Agartala in special vehicles.
Bangladesh allowed India to use Ashuganj river port for the first time to transship goods from Kolkata to Agartala under the 2010 Inland Water Transit Protocol in September, 2011. It provided transshipment facility on a trial basis and tonnes of steel sheets from Khidirpore dock in Kolkata formed the first consignment to Ashuganj river port from where it was sent to Akhaura land port on the frontiers with Tripura. � PTI