India, Bangladesh traders demand trial run of vessels through protocol route on Gomati river this month

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Agartala: Traders of India and Bangladesh have demanded a trial run of vessels on the Gomati river this month to operationalise the Indo-Bangla protocol route between Sonamura in Tripura’s Sipahijala district and Daudkandi in the neighbouring country, officials said.

The 93-km long Sonamura-Daudkandi waterway was included in the list of Indo-Bangla protocol routes in May this year.

A high-level team of officials of the Bangladesh Shipping Ministry surveyed the specified waterway on Gomati river on Tuesday, Sonamura sub-divisional magistrate Subrata Majumder said.

But they did not meet Indian officials during the tour, he said.

“Of the 90-km stretch, around 89.5 km is in the neighbouring country. Export-import traders of the two countries proposed a trial run of barges through the protocol route,” he said.

Indian traders have also discussed the prospects of the waterway with their Bangladeshi counterparts through a video conference.

All Tripura Merchant Association’s general secretary Sujit Roy said they have interacted with the Bangladeshi businessmen on the issues of exporting and importing goods through the riverine route.

“Traders of the two countries believe that the transport cost will come down, if the protocol route is operationalised. We have proposed a trial run to expedite the operationalisation process,” he said.

The Tripura government had launched a floating jetty on the Gomati river as part of the Indo-Bangla international inland waterways connectivity project on July 4 this year.

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