Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is keen to operationalize the Indo-Bangla waterway project at the earliest as it could be a game changer in the states communicaton system, a senior official said Wednesday.
The proposed waterway project will connect Tripuras Gomati river with Meghna river of Bangladesh to get access to Ashuganj port of the neighbouring country.
Presently ships and steamers ply from Haldia in West Bengal to Dawodkandi in Bangladesh, which is only 80 km from Tripura’s Sonamura sub-division in Sepahijala district.
At a meeting with the planning department on Tuesday, the chief minister was briefed about the report of the Joint Technical Committees finding on the 15-km inland waterway project, Transport Secretary L Darlong said.
The report suggested dredging work on a 15-km stretch to operationalize the proposed waterway.
“Of the 15 kilometres, around 13 kilometres need to be dredged on the Bangladesh side and the rest on the Indian part to allow small-medium sized vessels,” the official said.
The report of the Joint Technical Committee was based on the hydrographic study carried out on March 12 and 13, Darlong said.
The chief minister has asked the transport department to hold a meeting with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to give a big push to the ambitious waterway project, he said.
The transport secretary said, he will take up the issue with the IWAI to get the project done “as early as possible”.
“Since the state has limited resources, we are of the opinion that the Centre must come forward to incur the expenditure to undertake the dredging,” he said.
A technical committee of the Ministry of Shipping had visited Srimantapur area of Sepahijala district just before the Lok Sabha elections, to see the ground reality.
The state government wants construction of a jetty at Srimantapur Land Customs Station (LCS) to handle business through the proposed waterway project.