“Waterways connectivity between Bangladesh and India through joint rivers is 10 times more cost-effective than roadways and five times more than railways for any trade among these two countries,” said IPAG Chairman Syed Munir Khasru at the 'Enhancing Indo-Bangla waterways connectivity' seminar at Hotel Sonargoan in Dhaka.
“Currently, the political situation is good and so is the relationship between India and Bangladesh. It is high time that we enhance the waterway connectivity to increase trade,” Syed Munir said.
Commerce Minister and chief guest at the seminar, Tofail Ahmed, went further, describing India as Bangladesh’s "trusted friend". He said both countries have signed several deals that include waterway connectivity protocol and a coastal shipping agreement.
“We are working on developing the waterways connectivity for easy trade. We have also highlighted the roadways connectivity by BBIN agreement,” the minister said.
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla said it was important to develop the Pangoan ICT terminal near Dhaka, Ashuganj and Godagari river ports near India for trade.
“The Indian government has signed an agreement for investing in Ashugonj river port but the process is getting delayed due to problems pertaining to land acquisition,” said Shringla, stating navigation as the most important element for business through waterways.
“We have some of significant developments to use waterways connectivity for trade, especially using coastal ship under the coastal shipping agreement.”
IBCCI President Taskeen Ahmed presented the opening remarks at the seminar.