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India and Bangladesh start five new ports of call and two more protocol routes to enhance connectivity and trade between the two countries

Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb thanked the Prime minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina for approving the Sonamura-Daudkhandi stretch as an Indo-Bangladesh protocol route.

Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das along with Bangladeshi counterpart and the Secretary of the Ministry of shipping Government of Bangladesh Mohammad Mesbah Uddin Chowdhury signed an addendum to the protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in Dhaka on Wednesday.

A press release issued by the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh stated that the number of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes are being increased from 8 to 10. This includes the Sonamura-Daudkhandi stretch of the Gumti River. It also includes the operationalization of Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi routes with the extension up to Aricha.

Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb thanked the Prime minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina for approving the Sonamura-Daudkhandi stretch as an Indo-Bangladesh protocol route.

He stated that the Sonamura-Daudkhandi route will help in strengthening the economy. This will also help in improving the connectivity of Tripura and adjoining states. The Rajshahi-Dhulian route is expected to increase the infrastructure and decrease the transportation cost of stone chips to Bangladesh.

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Few new ports will also come into operation due to this agreement between India and Bangladesh. The newly added ports include Dhulian, Maia, Kolaghat, Sonamura, and Jogigopha on the Indian side while Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Chilmari, Daudkandi and Bahadurabad on Bangladesh side.

Two more ports of call have been extended are Tribeli (Bandel) and Badarpur on the Indian side and Ghorasal and  Muktarpur on the Bangladesh side. With this, the total number of ports of call increased to eleven while two extended ports of call in both the countries. Currently, there are six ports of call each in Bangladesh and India.

The Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh is expected to provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam, and Bhutan. The two nations have also agreed to commence trade between Chilmari in Bangladesh and Dhubri in India through the shallow draft mechanized vessels.

Read- India-Bangladesh water transit project: Bangladesh approves dredging of Jamuna river

The step will allow the export of stone chips and other Bhutanese and North-east cargo to Bangladesh. That will also provide the traders with easy access to the hinterland of Bangladesh. It is expected to boost bilateral trade between both countries.

The agreement will allow inland vessels of both the countries to strengthen the designated protocol route and dock at Ports of Call in each country, notified for loading and unloading of cargo. This decision was taken in October 2018 which has now been operationalized.

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