Biplab Kumar Deb keen to operationalise India-Bangladesh waterway; project may be a game-changer, says senior official

Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is keen to operationalise the Indo-Bangladesh waterway project at the earliest as it could be a game changer in the states communication system, a senior official said Wednesday.

The proposed waterway project will connect Gomati river of Tripura with Meghna river of Bangladesh to get access to Ashuganj port of the neighbouring country. Presently ships and steamers ply from Haldia in West Bengal to Dawodkandi in Bangladesh, which is only 80 kilometres from Tripura's Sonamura sub-division in Sepahijala district.

 Biplab Kumar Deb keen to operationalise India-Bangladesh waterway; project may be a game-changer, says senior official

File image of Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb. News18

At a meeting with the planning department on Tuesday, the chief minister was briefed about the report of the Joint Technical Committees finding on the 15 kilometres inland waterway project, Transport Secretary L Darlong said. "Of the 15 kilometres, around 13 kilometres need to be dredged on the Bangladesh side and the rest on the Indian part to allow small-medium sized vessels," the official added.

A report suggested that the dredging work on a 15 kilometres stretch is to operationalise the proposed waterway. The report of the Joint Technical Committee was based on the hydrographic study carried out on 12 and 13 March, 2019, Darlong said. "Since the state has limited resources, we are of the opinion that the Centre must come forward to incur the expenditure to undertake the dredging," he said.

The chief minister has asked the transport department to hold a meeting with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to give a big push to the ambitious waterway project, he further added. The transport secretary also said that he will take up the issue with the IWAI to get the project done "as early as possible".

A technical committee of the Ministry of Shipping had already visited Srimantapur area of Sepahijala district to see the ground reality. The state government also wants construction of a jetty at Srimantapur Land Customs Station (LCS) to handle business through the proposed waterway project.

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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2019 18:04:01 IST