After a prolonged wait, Tripura’s is now all set to jettison its ‘landlocked’ tag. With trade bodies of India and Bangladesh ready to initiate the much awaited trial run, a small vessel carrying 50 metric ton of cement will reach Sonamura, a custom port of Tripura, at the end of this month.
On June 20, the 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between India and Bangladesh was signed approving Sonamura-Daudkandi stretch of the Gumti River as the India-Bangladesh protocol route. The Protocol Route is expected to improve the connectivity between India and Bangladesh. It will increase bilateral trade between the countries and also connect all existing IBP routes.
According to Sujit Ray, Secretary of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, Tripura, the exact date of the shipment will be decided next week. Ray has recently attended a video conference with HE Tipu Munshi MP, Conveyance Minister of Bangladesh, and Riva Ganguly Das, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh.
“The meeting laid emphasis on the need to speed up the necessary process for initiating trade through Daudkandi-Sonamura protocol route to ensure better trade links between Tripura and Bangladesh. Everyone present in the meeting unanimously agreed that the process now needs to be effectively streamlined so that the first shipment can reach Sonamura by the end of this month. Bangladesh has also requested the Indian business fraternity and government officials to proactively resolve all the existing bottlenecks in order to make the trading mechanism seamless,” informed Ray.
It is a known fact that large number Bangladeshi nationals visit India to avail better healthcare facilities. However, with the COVID19 pandemic, which has badly affected both the countries, many Bangladeshi patients with serious health complexities are failing to get their much needed medical attendance in India. Raising the issue Abdul Mutlab Ahmad, President of India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce said, “We want emergency visas for patients from Bangladesh on priority basis.”
Moreover, Agartala-Akhaura Railway Project and other ongoing projects between India and Bangladesh were also discussed in the course of the video conference.
Indian representatives, on the other hand, have placed a proposal inviting businesses from both sides of the border to Tripura in order to set up JVs in food processing and other potential fields. As India and Bangladesh will soon be linked through multi-pronged routes via Tripura, the state can actually utilise the advantage by emerging as a business hub for both nations.
On this occasion, Bangladesh Minister has expressed deep gratitude towards Indian traders for continuation of business even during the pandemic. To make business exchange between the two countries more fruitful, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das has urged the Bangladesh Minister to lift restrictions on the products that are currently banned from being traded through Tripura.