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Mandavia Revives Hope Of Sonamura Waterway

The Ministry of Shipping and Ports has been working on creating 4000 km inland waterways to connect Tripura and Assam with the last part of the country, said Union Minister of State for Shipping and Ports Mansukh Mandaviya.
As part of the plan, a 1400-km inland waterway will be created to connect Haldiya in West Bengal with Banaras of Uttar Pradesh. From Haldia, the route will be developed up to Sundarban and from Sundarban, it will be taken to Brahmaputra (800 km). The river Yumana (Bangladesh), the proposed route will be created up to Brahmaputra which is about 890 km. And, Sonamura (Tripura) will be connected to Haldia through Chittagong port in Bangladesh.
Of the total 4000 km proposed inland waterway, India will bear 80 percent of the cost while Bangladesh will spend only 20 percent of the total cost.
“Assam and Tripura will be well connected with the last part of the country to ensure seamless trade and business. Once the route is made operational, agricultural products of the entire Northeast will be taken to the rest of the country and even beyond India. This will ensure better trade for the farmers of the region”, he said at a press conference here.
Mandaviya, who arrived here today to highlight the General Budget for 2021-22 FY, met Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and discussed the proposed inland waterway from Sonmura to Daudkandi (Bangladesh) which will connect Tripura with Haldia through Chittagong port.
Later, the Union Minister accompanied by Member of Parliament (MP) Pratima Bhoumik visited the floating jetty in Sonamura of Sepahijala district to know the ground reality.
“If everything falls in the right place, the Sonamura-Daudkandi waterway would be made operational by 2022 as funds have been sanctioned in the Budget. A good infrastructure will be put in place at Sonamura to handle the bilateral trade”, he said.
Mandaviya said he had words with the Chief Minister on the protocol route from Sonamura to Daudkandi. “We are targeting Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh because agricultural products could be exported to the Middle East from Chittagong port easily. As of now, the use of Ashuganj port is not on our table”, he said.
The Union Minister highlighted the Budget tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as it promised to increase expenditure by the government sector. “This will boost the country’s economy as the Covid-19 pandemic has literally crashed the whole cycle of the economy. The GDP growth target is 11 percent, which will be good for the country if it is achieved”, he added. 

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