AGARTALA, June 20 - Tripura is likely to be connected to the inland waterway transport system soon as the 93-km Indo-Bangladesh waterway from Sonamura to Daudkandhi is scheduled to be inaugurated next month.
A floating jetty has already been erected in the Gomati river to handle the proposed traffic. Recently, Tripura Principal Secretary L Darlong, along with the SDM of Sonamura subdivision in Sepahijala district, Subrata Majumder, visited the site and expressed satisfaction over the progress of works.
Sources said that the floating jetty, which is capable of handling traffic of 50-MT goods carriers, has been constructed to speed up opening of the waterway. The construction of a full-fledged jetty, on the other hand, will require a substantial amount of time.
The Sonamura-Daudkandhi (Bangladesh) waterway was declared a Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) on May 20 following an agreement signed in Dhaka, but it has not been operationalised yet due to lack of infrastructure.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb wants to make the waterway operational soon as it has already been notified a protocol route. �That is why a floating jetty has been constructed to start traffic on the waterway as early as possible,� said a Transport Department official here today.
Meanwhile, the Government has already allocated two-and-a-half acres of land near the Srimantapur LCS to set up a full-fledged jetty. Besides, the PWD authority has been asked to construct an approach road to handle the traffic.
When contacted, the SDM said all possible steps have been taken to open the Sonamura-Daudkandhi waterway in July. �We will open the waterway with the floating jetty and later, a full-fledged jetty will be constructed. The floating jetty is capable of managing small ships with the capacity of carrying 50 MT goods. This is good for the time being,� he added.
If the Indo-Bangladesh waterway is operationalised, Tripura stands to benefit on several fronts as carrying essential items and goods from the mainland States will become easier and cost-effective. The waterway runs a distance of around 600 km from Haldia (West Bengal) to Sonamura via Daudkandhi (Bangladesh), while the land distance between Agartala and West Bengal via Guwahati is around 1,200 km.