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Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday said a permanent jetty and other infrastructure would be built soon on the river Gomati at Sonamura in Tripura's Sepahijala district for smooth movement of barges and small ships in Sonamura-Daudkhandi waterways.
The Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, who arrived on a two-day visit on Saturday, said the development of infrastructure on the Sonamura-Daudkhandi waterways would create jobs and enhance export and import trade between Bangladesh and the northeastern region.
"I will inspect Sonmura, where a floating jetty was constructed last year and would also see the available facilities like a warehouse, etc. A permanent jetty would be constructed there and foundation would be laid within two-three months", Mandaviya told reporters at the state BJP party office here.
The Sonamura-Daudkhandi waterways through river Gomati
(90 km) was approved as India-Bangladesh protocol route on May 21, 2020, with the signing of 2nd addendum in Dhaka by Riva Ganguly Das, then high commissioner of India in Bangladesh, and Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, secretary, ministry of shipping, Bangladesh.
The 90 km long waterways protocol route connecting Sonamura in India and Daudkandi in Bangladesh became operational on September 5 last year when Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb received the first vessel at Sonamura port.
He said, dredging on the route has already started in Bangladesh side of the protocol route so that barges and the small ships can move for a maximum time.
The Sonamura-Daudkandi route was included in the list of Indo-Bangla protocol (IBP) routes in May last year.
Tripura had set up a floating jetty on the river on July 4 as part of the Indo-Bangla international inland waterways connectivity project.
Of the 90-km stretch, around 89.5-km is in the neighbouring country.
Gomati is a seasonal river and the water route can remain operational for only 3-4 months in a year as silts are deposited fast.
At present ships and steamers ply from Haldia in West Bengal to Daudkandi in Bangladesh, which is only 80 km from Tripura's Sonamura sub-division in Sipahijala district.
The Union minister said Bangladesh and India have signed an agreement for a protocol route connecting Chittagong, Mongla and Haldia ports earlier and Tripura would be well connected with the rest of the country and Bangladesh when Sonamura-Daudkandi waterways would be fully connected with the Chittagong port.
Chittagong port is just 70 km from Sabroom, a town near the Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura's South district and is well connected to Agartala by roads and railways now. (PTI)