AGARTALA, Oct 27 - In a path-breaking development that promises to end landlocked Tripura�s geographical isolation and facilitate its emergence as gateway to Southeast Asia, the Governments of India and Bangladesh signed three major agreements on Friday, highly placed sources said here.
These three agreements, already approved by the Bangladesh Cabinet, will allow India access to crucial Chittagong and Mongla ports and transit-transportation of goods to and from mainstream India to North East via Tripura.
Besides, there will be an interlinking of Gomati and Howrah rivers for water transport between the two countries and as preparatory measures both the rivers will be dredged by Government of India. The two rivers will be dredged up to 20 km within India while the connecting Bangaldeshi rivers will be dredged up to 75-80 km within Bangladesh to make them navigable.
Highly placed official sources privy to the signing of the agreements said that goods and commodities from mainstream India will now reach Tripura through Chittagong and Mongla ports and reach other States of North East, while goods and commodities from this region including Tripura will be similarly sent to rest of India through these Bangladeshi ports.
�This is a milestone agreement as this will boost the economies of both the countries, closest neighbours in South Asia. Besides, the interlinking of Gomati and Howrah rivers and making them navigable through dredging will also greatly boost the economies of NE and Bangladesh. It will also make Tripura the gateway to South East Asia�, the sources said.
They added that after signing of the operational protocol and exchange of documents between the two countries, the agreement will come into effect very soon.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who met Union Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari in Delhi on Friday, has got the green signal to undertake dredging work connecting Gomati (Tripura) and Meghna (Bangladesh).
State�s Water Resource department has already begun work on the interlinking plan of the two rivers to make the patch navigable under the supervision of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).