| President of the North East Federation on International Trade, R.C. Agrawal, speaks at Calcutta University |
Guwahati, Jan. 11: The North East Federation on International Trade has called on both India and Bangladesh to promote water transportation by making necessary amendments to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit And Trade.
The plea assumes significance since Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is in India to hold talks on various issues, including inland water transport.
Dipu Moni, foreign minister of Bangladesh, had set the tone for improved relations between the two countries with respect to waterways during his visit to India last September.
R.C. Agrawal, president of the North East Federation on International Trade, today told reporters that the inland water transport mode has not been able to contribute much towards transportation of goods between India and Bangladesh.
Agrawal, who submitted a paper on Connectivity between India and her Eastern Neighbours: Emerging Physical, Economic and Cultural Networks, at Calcutta University on January 8-9, said: “At a time when pollution caused by vehicular traffic is playing havoc with the environment in India and Bangladesh, the eco-friendly inland waterways can be good for both countries.”
He said both the countries should amend the protocol by adding clauses that will be mutually economically beneficial.
“Private barge owners of both countries should be allowed to come forward to participate actively as they can play a vital role in solving these problems,” he said.
India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit And Trade was renewed on March 24 last year and has been extended up to March 2011.
On dredging, Agrawal said though India has requested that patches of sand between Sherpur and Ajmiriganj be removed or cleared, Bangladesh found it difficult to do so because of lack of technical expertise and funds.
Though India has requested night navigation facilities between Sheikhbaria and Mongla, between Fenchuganj and Bhairab Bazar, and from Aricha to Chilmari, Bangladesh said the national traffic flow on these routes was too low for it to invest on expensive night navigation facilities.
On the port of call, India has requested for new ports of call at Sherpur, Fenchuganj and Ashuganj.