India will get three border points for movement of goods
India has named eight border points to move its goods to and from Bangladesh if they make entry and exit through Chittagong and Mongla ports, and demanded dedicated space for its goods at the ports.
In response, Dhaka said three border points could be allowed at most, and there will be no dedicated space for Indian goods at any of the ports.
The border points were proposed by New Delhi at a secretary-level meeting in Dhaka on Wednesday.
A Bangladesh team led by Shipping Secretary Ashok Madhob Roy and an Indian delegation led by Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar attended the talks.
The objective of the meeting was to finalise the draft agreements on allowing movement of goods to and from India through the Chittagong and Mongla ports.
During Wednesday's meeting, the two sides also discussed ways to finalise the draft on the standard operational procedure, which is required to operationalise the deal on the port use. Usually, agreements are signed first and then the SOP is prepared.
But the Indian side said it wants to sign both the agreements on port use and the SOP during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's upcoming visit to New Delhi.
Bangladesh assured India of signing the agreement but it would inform New Delhi about signing of the SOP later.
New Delhi said the entry and exit of goods under the protocol of Chittagong and Mongla ports will be carried out through Akhaura-Agartala, Tamabil-Dawki, Sheola-Sutarkandi, Burimari-Changrabandha, Benapole-Petrapole, Darshana-Gede, Rohanpur-Singhabad and Birol-Radhikapur.
Of the proposed routes, Dhaka said, three points could be allowed: Akhaura-Agartala, Tamabil-Dawki and Sheola-Sutarkandi. The other points do not have infrastructure yet for movement of goods.
The draft of the port use agreement was finalised, Roy told The Daily Star yesterday. “The two governments will fix a date to sign it,” he said, adding that the SOP is yet to be finalised.
The shipping ministries of the two countries would be able to finalise it and the work has already started.
The secretary also said the Bangladesh side told the visiting delegation that dedicated space in the ports for Indian goods could not be provided. “However, priority space can be given.”
The ports of entry and exit facilities to be given to India will be mentioned in the SOP.
Roy also said the Indian goods that would be ferried through Bangladesh would be by way of local vehicles.
Bangladesh will charge levies and fees just as other international ports do. These will be spelt out in the SOP.
During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka in June last year, a primary agreement was signed between the two sides on the use of the two ports.