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Tripura- Bangladesh waterways

Date: 06 September 2020 Tags: Infrastructure

Issue

The inland waterways protocol route between Tripura and Bangladesh was made operational when Tripura received a barge with a consignment of cement from Munshiganj in the neighbouring country.

 

Background

The route connecting Sonamura, about 60 km from Agartala in the Indian side, and Daudkandi of Chittagong in Bangladesh was included in the list of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes agreed up on May 20 this year.

 

Details

  • Currently, the state exports a handful of goods and materials worth Rs 30 crore to Bangladesh annually, but imports good worth Rs 645 crore.

  • This huge trade deficit is due to abnormally high import duty apparatus in Bangladesh and the absence of many commodities abundant in the state in the list of goods allowed for export as well as port restrictions.

  • The forthcoming Agartala-Akhaura rail project, Indo-Bangla bridge over River Feni, and a second Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Sabroom are also aimed at taking up the quantum of trade between the two sides.

  • Since the waterway project’s trade volume would be low, there isn’t massive local employment to count upon either. Most importantly, the river route would not stay operational throughout the year.

  • Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) and local authorities held a series of visits and studied the feasibility of launching inland waterways connectivity on River Gomati. The river connects with Meghna in Bangladesh.

  • The plan includes dredging the riverbed to make way for small ship and boats from Sonamura till Ashuganj river port in Bangladesh, 60 km away. 

  • A terminal building was also planned to be built for customs check of imported goods. As the permanent jetty for loading and unloading of goods was taking too much time, Tripura built a temporary floating jetty.

River Gomti

  • River Gomati is the largest and longest river of Tripura with cumulative length of 180 km. It is also considered a sacred river and devotees converge along its banks at Tirthmukh every Makar Sankranti.

  • Gomati is also a regulated river. Due to the high altitude of in its upper catchment and Dumbur dam built in 1974 as part of the Gumti hydro-electric power project, the river erodes a lot of sand and rocky particles in its upper segment.

  • The flow slows down a lot after it reaches the plains and at Maharani barrage in Gomati district. Gomati riverbed remains navigable for less than four months a year, that too only during monsoon days.

  • For rest of the year, scanty rainfall in the hills results in low volume while accumulating sediments raise the average riverbed, rendering Gomati even shallower.

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