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National waterways status for Barak

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 19.12.11
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Silchar Dec. 18: The Union ministry of shipping and road transport is finalising modalities and financial aspects to upgrade the Barak as part of the national waterways to link south Assam’s traffic with the mainland through Bangladesh.

A senior official of the Central Inland Water Transport Corporation in Karimganj town last week said the Barak would soon be included into the national waterways once the modalities were completed.

The official said Union minister for shipping Mukul Roy assured the Cachar MP in the Lok Sabha last week that necessary steps had already been taken to remove the last hurdles before declaring the Barak into one of the country’s six national waterways.

The 532km Barak, which originates from the Saramati hills in Nagaland, flows through Manipur and the districts of Cachar and Karimganj and is bifurcated into separate tributaries, the Surma and the Kushiara in Bhangha under Karimganj district and enters Bangladesh before flowing into the Bay of Bengal.

The official after its formal upgrade into a national river, the Barak would be christened the national river number 6.

He said the ministry of shipping was now preparing a financial package for making the Barak navigable round the year. For an unhindered navigation through the Barak and its tributary, the Surma, some amount of dredging needs to be undertaken on the river systems of both the countries.

The Indo-Bangladedsh Joint River Commission has identified Ajmiriganj river port on the Kushiara in Sylhet division under Bangladesh as one of the main drawbacks for the navigation throughout the year because large mounds of the silt have accumulated there.

The official said the Centre had already assured Dhaka that it was ready to undertake the necessary dredging exercise on the riverbeds in south Assam and Bangladesh and a financial package for it was almost ready.

After the river is upgraded into a national waterway, traffic between the two countries for goods will get further momentum, he added.