Chief Minister of the Indian state of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb today said ships from the state and Bangladesh will begin to ply the new waterways on the river Gomati within three months.
The ships would be able to use the route from Sonamura in south Tripura to Daudkandi in Bangladesh
Deb today visited the proposed waterways project site at Srimantapur in Sonamura subdivision of Sipahijala district of Tripura, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
"This is a dream come true for us. The new waterway project would be operational in three months…," he told reporters.
He said ships and boats carrying 50 tonnes of goods would start operations in the waterways as part of an upcoming waterways connectivity project with Bangladesh.
The agreement for Sonamura-Daudkandi Protocol (IBP) routes was signed by Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Md Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury in Dhaka on May 20.
"Both India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement on this issue. Both the countries have decided to start work amidst the pandemic. I thank them for this initiative. I hope ships will start operating out of a temporary jetty being set up here in next three months," Deb told journalists.
Deb also said that as it was monsoon season, the river Gomati had sufficient water for movement of boats and small ships.
While full-fledged operations would require a permanent jetty, a temporary jetty would be set up to handle traffic while work for the permanent one would continue alongside, the Tripura chief minister said.
He also said a temporary jetty would be constructed at Srimantapur Integrated Check Post within two and half months.
A permanent jetty will need around 3 years to be operational, he added.
"With the starting of the new waterway, Tripura would emerge as the gateway to the north-east Indian region. I thank the prime ministers of India and Bangladesh for approving the new waterway. There is no doubt that the new waterway would boost states economy and communication", Deb said.
The new protocol route between Bangladesh and India will facilitate carriage of goods from Ashuganj port on Meghna river in Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh to Sonamura.
At present, ships and steamers ply from Haldia in West Bengal to Daudkandi which is only 80 kilometres from Sonamura.
A terminal building would also be constructed for customs check of imported goods from Bangladesh.
The plan includes dredging the riverbed of Gomati to make way for small ships and boats from Sonamura to Ashuganj river port of Bangladesh, which is only 60 kilometres away, during the winters, Deb also said.
Deb expressed hope that the inland waterway route with Bangladesh will help strengthen bilateral trades between both countries and boost the state's economy to emerge as the gateway to north-east.