Bhutan is transporting 50 trucks worth of crushed stone aggregates to Bangladesh through India. The transportation that will save 30 per cent cost and eight-ten days of time is a first of many to come as Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will facilitate trade between Bhutan and Bangladesh via the country's waterways.
Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) and Chemical and Fertilisers Mansukhlal Mandaviya digitally flagged off the vessel on Friday. He said that the move will facilitate Bhutan and Bangladesh trade through the Brahmaputra as part of the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route. It will also help India access the North-East states through Kolkata, Haldia through the inland waterways via Bangladesh, he added.
Mandaviya also said that India will provide Rs 300 crore to Bangladesh to maintain the depth of water on this route for five years.
Bangladesh will send jute and rice to Bhutan in turn, said Shipping Ministry officials.
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Pravir Pandey, Chairman of IWAI said that these 1,000 tonnes of cargo in a single 2,000-tonne, self-propelled vessel of IWAI is replacing 70 trucks of 12 wheels of 50 trucks of 16 wheels. Cost saving will be higher if the return cargo were to be taken into consideration, he added.
The stone aggregates will set sail from the Dhubri port in Assam to Narayanganj in Bangladesh through India's National Waterways 2 and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route as per a release. The stone aggregates were transported by trucks from Phuentsholing in Bhutan.
The redeveloped Dhubri port in Assam has also been inaugurated. It has been revamped with customs facility, jetty and two warehouses. "Earlier, trucks of Bhutan used to ply to Bangladesh with this cargo. At the border, cargo from Bhutan's trucks was unloaded and reloaded into trucks of Bangladesh. This also involved a customs clearance time of and long queues of truck taking a time of up to 20 days," Pandey said.