Sonowal bats for inland waterway connecting Haldia to North East
The inland waterway connecting Haldia to North East has the potential to strengthen political relations between India and Bangladesh, Union minister of ports, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on Wednesday.
“The waterways can be a win-win for the two countries,” Sonowal said after flagging off the maiden voyage of a shipment of steel from Haldia Dock Complex to Pandu in Assam through the Indo Bangladesh Protocol route.
This maiden voyage showcases multi-modal movement of cargo along with harnessing the power of river–sea combination. Two barges with a total consignment of 1,798 million tonnes (mt) of finished steel products of Tata Steel are now sailing from Haldia to Pandu.
On Wednesday, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Calcutta, signed an agreement with state-run Bramhaputra Cracker Petrochem to move cargo through this river-sea route.
Sonowal said poor draught is a hurdle to utilising the river route to its full potential. Instead of carrying 4,000 tonnes, barges are limited to carrying about 2,000 tonnes. “Once the route is utilised regularly, we will be able to understand where dredging is required and we can take action on it,” he said at Haldia, with SMP, Calcutta chairman Vinit Kumar by his side.
Kumar said Rs 700 crore investment would be made in Calcutta and Haldia for mechanisation and modernisation.