Tripura will open its waterways to connect with Bangladesh, and people are optimistic that the 90-km long Sonamura-Daudkandi waterways will boost bilateral trade.

A barge carrying 50 ton of cement from Daundkandi in Bangladesh will reach Sonamura in Tripura’s Sepahijala district on September 5.

Union Minister for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya will welcome the barge through video conferencing from New Delhi, official sources said.

The Sonamura-Daudkandi inland waterways would be made operational on September 5 in presence of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Chairman of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), Aditya Mishra.

A floating jetty was constructed near the integrated check post. At present barges carrying goods would come and go through the port, the officials said.

On August 25, Biplab Deb had said in a Facebook post that the trial run for transporting cement in barges from Dhaka to Sonamura would be undertaken during the first week of September.

“This is for the first time in history that any kind of goods will be reaching Tripura by ship,” the chief minister had said in his Facebook post.

The chief minister said that the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has given permission for a trial run from Daundkandi in Comilla district in Bangladesh to Sonamura in Tripura via River Gomati.

Of the 90-km stretch of waterways, around 89.5-km is in Bangladesh.

As Gomati is a seasonal river, the new international waterway can remain operational for three to four months during the monsoon. And if proper dredging is done, it could be a round-the year waterway, the officials said.

Meanwhile, the railway line between Agartala and Akhaura in Bangladesh will be completed by September 2021, and the land acquisition process has also been completed.

The 15.6 km-long railway link will connect Gangasagar in Bangladesh to Agartala via Nischintapur (also in India).

The cost of laying the 5.46-km track (within India) is being borne by the Ministry of DoNER, while the 10.6-km long track on the other side of the border is being funded by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The project is being executed by IRCON and the approximate cost of the project is Rs 580 crore.

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