Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (NW1) via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route
Guwahati, March 8, 2022
Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal received the maiden shipment of food-grains from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh in Guwahati last Sunday.
The voyage marked the connecting of Brahmaputra National Water Way number two with the Ganga National Water number one.
The vessel set sail from Patna on National Waterway-1 (river Ganga) and passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar; Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and National Waterway-2 through Dhubri, and Jogighopa covering a distance of 2,350 km
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Queen Oja, representing Guwahati in Parliament were present along with Sanjay Bandopadhyay, Chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to welcome the self-propelled vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying a total of 200 MT of foodgrains for Food Corporation of India (FCI) as it completed the maiden pilot run from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh.
IWAI is planning to run a fixed schedule sailing between NW1 and NW2 heralding a new age of inland water transport for Northeast India, an official press release said.
Another vessel, MV Ram Prasad Bismil with two barges Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam started its voyage from Haldia on February 17 and is on the way to Pandu. The vessel is carrying 1800MT Tata steel and already reached 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.
Speaking on the occasion Sarma said, “The cargo movement through ships via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) marks the beginning of a new age of economic prosperity for the whole region of Northeast.
Sonowal said, “Today marks the beginning of a new age of inland water transport in Assam. This is going to provide the business community with a viable, economic & ecological alternative 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 sustained effort to rejuvenate the trade routes via Bangladesh got a fillip under PM Gati Shakti. It has been envisioned that the Northeast will slowly turn into a connectivity hub," the release said.
"The IWAI is also planning to run scheduled service on these routes. The protocol on Inland water transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India & Bangladesh will be optimally beneficial when the value from the cargo trade in the region is unlocked. To improve the navigability, two stretches of IBP routes, Sirajganj-Daikhowa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj are also being developed at Rs 305.84 crore on an 80:20 share basis (80% being borne by India and 20% by Bangladesh)," it said.
"The development of these stretches is expected to provide seamless navigation to the North-East Region via the IBP route. The contracts for dredging on the two stretches for providing and maintaining requisite depth for a period of seven years (from 2019 to 2026) are underway. Once the IBP Route no. 5 & 6 from Maia near Farakka in India to Aricha in Bangladesh, the IWT distance connecting NW1 to NW2 (North Eastern Region) will be further reduced by nearly 1000 km, which will reduce time and cost to a great extent.
"In line with the Act East policy of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW), has taken up several infrastructure projects on National Waterways-1, Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, and NW2, through the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). These steps will improve the connectivity with the North Eastern Region (NER) through waterways. The Government has undertaken the ambitious Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with an investment of about Rs 4600 crore for the capacity augmentation of NW-1 (River Ganga) for safe and sustainable movement of vessels up to 2000 tonnes," the release added.