Brahmaputra, Ganga connected via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route
Cargo ship carrying 200 MT foodgrains from Patna docks at Pandu
Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush,received the maiden voyage of foodgrains in Guwahati from Patna (Bihar) to Pandu (Assam) via Bangladesh.
"Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma and Queen Oja, Lok Sabha MP for Guwahati, joined the celebration along with Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to welcome the self-propelled vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying 200 MT of foodgrains for Food Corporation of India (FCI). IWAI is planning to run a fixed schedule sailing between National Waterway 1 (River Ganga) and National Waterway 2 (River Brahmaputra), heralding a new age of inland water transport for Assam & the Northeast India," according to an official statement.
Dr Sarma said: "The start of cargo movement through ships through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBP) marks the beginning of a new age of economic prosperity for the whole region of Northeast. I am confident that the vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji and the enterprise of our Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterwater Sarbananda Sonowal will pave the way for growth & development of inland water transport."
Sonowal added: "Today marks the beginning of a new age of inland water transport in Assam. This is going to provide the business community a viable, economic & ecological alternative. The seamless cargo transportation is a journey of unfulfilled desires & aspirations of the people of Assam. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister, the Northeast region is ready to unlock the value of the Ashtalakshmi. We are confident that the cargo movement via waterways is going to play a pivotal role in energising India's northeast as the engine of growth."
The vessel started its sail from Patna on National Waterway-1 and passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar, and the IBP route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and National Waterway-2 through Dhubri, and Jogighopa covering a distance of 2,350 km.
Another vessel, MV Ram Prasad Bismil with two barges Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam started voyage from Haldia on February 17, 2022 and is on the way to Pandu. The vessel is carrying 1800 MT Tata steel, and has already reached the Bangladesh border at Dhubri. "The ODC (over Dimensional cargo, 252 MT) of Numaligarh Bio-refinery reached Silghat on February 15 from Haldia through IWT via the IBP route. Another ODC (250MT) consignment is also on the way to Silghat."
Two stretches of IBP routes - Sirajganj-Daikhowa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj - are also being developed at a cost of Rs 305.84 crore on an 80:20 share basis (80 percent being borne by India and 20 percent by Bangladesh).