Union Minister for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya will welcome the barge carrying 50 tonne of cement from Daundkandi in Bangladesh to Sonamura in Tripura's Sepahijala district on September 5 through video conferencing from Delhi, officials said. The Sonamura-Daudkandi inland waterways protocol route connecting Tripura to Bangladesh would be made operational on the day in presence of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Chairman of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), Aditya Mishra, Secretary of Tripura's Industry and Commerce Department, Kiran Gitte said.
The 90-km long Sonamura-Daudkandi route, included in the list of Indo-Bangla protocol (IBP) routes in May this year, is expected to boost trade, Gitte, who visited the spot, told reporters on Sunday. Director of Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) Ajit Kumar Singh, said that a barge carrying goods would arrive at Sonamura on September 5.
"A floating jetty was constructed just near the integrated check post. The place is beautiful, which has also the potential to be developed as a good tourist spot. At present barges carrying goods would come and later tourists from both the countries can come by using the waterways," he told PTI.
On August 25, Deb had said in a Facebook post, ".... The trial run is scheduled in the first week of September 2020, during which 50 MT cement will be transported in barges from Dhaka to Sonamura. This is for the first time in history that any kind of goods will be reaching Tripura by ship.."
The chief minister said that the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has given permission for a trial run from Daundkandi in Comilla district of the neighbouring country to Sonamura in Tripura via River Gomati. Tripura had set up a floating jetty on the river on July 4 as part of the Indo-Bangla international inland waterways connectivity project.
Traders of India and Bangladesh had demanded a trial run of vessels on the Gomati river to operationalise the Indo-Bangla protocol route between Sonamura and Daudkandi, officials said. A high-level team of officials of the Bangladesh Shipping Ministry had surveyed the riverine protocol route on August 12, Sonamura sub-divisional magistrate Subrata Majumder said.
"Of the 90-km stretch, around 89.5-km is in the neighbouring country," he said. Gomati is a seasonal river and the water route can remain operational for only 3-4 months in a year and silts should be lifted on a regular basis from the Gomati to keep the route operational, Singh said.
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