The first trial run of the inland waterways route between Bangladesh and Tripura will be held in September, said Cheif Minister Biplab Kumar Deb of Tripura, India.
Deb wrote in a post of his Facebook official page that the Daudkandi-Sonamura inland waterways connectivity route will have the trial run in the first week of September, reports The Indian Express.
Terming it a 'historical moment for Tripura', Deb wrote that the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has given permission for the trial run of a voyage from Daundkandi in Comilla district of Bangladesh to Sonamura in Tripura's Sepahijala district, 60 km away from Agartala, via River Gomati.
"….The trial run is scheduled in first week of September 2020, during which 50 MT cement will be transported in barge from Dhaka to Sonamura. This is for the first time in history that any kind of goods will be reaching Tripura by ship…", the CM wrote, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union shipping MoS Mansukh Mandavia and the Bangladesh government for cooperation in realising the project.
The Sonamura-Daudkandi route was recently included in the list of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes, signed between High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Md. Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury in Dhaka on May 20.
Earlier on July 4 this year, Tripura launched a floating jetty on River Gomati as part of the Indo-Bangla international inland waterways connectivity project.
According to the plan, small boats and ferries capable of carrying 50 tonne goods will start moving through this route to Bangladesh soon.
The Bangla authorities surveyed their part of Sonamura-Daudkandi protocol route on August 11. Out of the 90 Km stretch of the route, 89.5 Km is on the Bangladesh while merely 500 meters is on the Indian side.
Currently, Tripura exports a handful of goods and materials worth Rs 30 crore to Bangladesh annually, but imports materials worth Rs 645 crore. After the floating jetty was launched at Sonamura in July, CM Deb expressed hopes that with the new transit routes, the state would be able to cut down on the trade deficit.