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New waterways likely to figure in Indo-Bangla talks

By The Assam Tribune
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AGARTALA, July 23 - The proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh will be discussed at the Foreign Secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October, a top official has said. The Union DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) Ministry is prioritising multi-modal connectivity in India�s North Eastern region, including water connectivity, and has proposed 16 waterway projects, mostly involving Bangladesh.

Since 1972, four inland water routes between India and Bangladesh have been operational. These are Kolkata-Pandu (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Kolkata-Karimganj (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Rajshahi (in Bangladesh)-Dhulian (in southern Assam) and Karimganj-Pandu-Karimganj via Bangladesh. �The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) officials informed us that the proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh would be discussed in the next Foreign Secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October,� Tripura Government�s Principal Secretary (Transport) Laihlia Darlong told this news agency.

�The Rs 2483 crore proposed waterway (project) between Tripura and Bangladesh will also be discussed in the Foreign Secretary-level meeting. The entire expenditure of the new waterway projects will be borne by the Indian Government,� he added.

�The IWAI officials also informed us that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed 18-km waterway between Gomati (Tripura) and Meghna (Bangladesh) will be finalised by September.�

Darlong said that to create the new waterway between the countries, 15 km dredging has to be done in the Meghna river in Bangladesh and 3 km in Tripura�s Gomati river. �A joint technical committee of India and Bangladesh recently visited the proposed site at Sonamura in western Tripura, where the IWAI will construct the terminal for the proposed river waterway,� he added.

After becoming Tripura Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb undertook the proposed waterway on a priority basis as it is a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly mode of transport between the mountainous North Eastern States and Bangladesh. �The Chief Minister discussed the proposed waterway with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shipping Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya. The Prime Minister appreciated the Chief Minister for proposing the new waterway project,� an official of the Chief Minister�s Secretariat said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, CUTS International, a Jaipur-based international NGO, under the five-year (2017-2021) �Trans-boundary Rivers of South Asia� project has also conducted a study to promote cross-border trade and tourism through waterways.

CUTS International executive director Bipul Chatterjee said that cross-border tourism, trade, transit and transport via inland waterways between India and Bangladesh through the Meghna basin constitute another exciting prospect for the riverine communities in this region. �This is primarily due to two reasons � increasing local trade will enhance economic growth of the region, and involving local communities can ensure the benefit sharing of resources and governance cooperation. In this context, the present study has been successful in creating evidence of cross-border trade along the short trans-boundary stretches in the Barak, Gomati and Haora rivers of the Meghna basin,� Chatterjee said. � IANS

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New waterways likely to figure in Indo-Bangla talks

AGARTALA, July 23 - The proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh will be discussed at the Foreign Secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October, a top official has said. The Union DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) Ministry is prioritising multi-modal connectivity in India�s North Eastern region, including water connectivity, and has proposed 16 waterway projects, mostly involving Bangladesh.

Since 1972, four inland water routes between India and Bangladesh have been operational. These are Kolkata-Pandu (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Kolkata-Karimganj (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Rajshahi (in Bangladesh)-Dhulian (in southern Assam) and Karimganj-Pandu-Karimganj via Bangladesh. �The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) officials informed us that the proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh would be discussed in the next Foreign Secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October,� Tripura Government�s Principal Secretary (Transport) Laihlia Darlong told this news agency.

�The Rs 2483 crore proposed waterway (project) between Tripura and Bangladesh will also be discussed in the Foreign Secretary-level meeting. The entire expenditure of the new waterway projects will be borne by the Indian Government,� he added.

�The IWAI officials also informed us that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed 18-km waterway between Gomati (Tripura) and Meghna (Bangladesh) will be finalised by September.�

Darlong said that to create the new waterway between the countries, 15 km dredging has to be done in the Meghna river in Bangladesh and 3 km in Tripura�s Gomati river. �A joint technical committee of India and Bangladesh recently visited the proposed site at Sonamura in western Tripura, where the IWAI will construct the terminal for the proposed river waterway,� he added.

After becoming Tripura Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb undertook the proposed waterway on a priority basis as it is a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly mode of transport between the mountainous North Eastern States and Bangladesh. �The Chief Minister discussed the proposed waterway with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shipping Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya. The Prime Minister appreciated the Chief Minister for proposing the new waterway project,� an official of the Chief Minister�s Secretariat said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, CUTS International, a Jaipur-based international NGO, under the five-year (2017-2021) �Trans-boundary Rivers of South Asia� project has also conducted a study to promote cross-border trade and tourism through waterways.

CUTS International executive director Bipul Chatterjee said that cross-border tourism, trade, transit and transport via inland waterways between India and Bangladesh through the Meghna basin constitute another exciting prospect for the riverine communities in this region. �This is primarily due to two reasons � increasing local trade will enhance economic growth of the region, and involving local communities can ensure the benefit sharing of resources and governance cooperation. In this context, the present study has been successful in creating evidence of cross-border trade along the short trans-boundary stretches in the Barak, Gomati and Haora rivers of the Meghna basin,� Chatterjee said. � IANS

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