India to bear 80% of dredging work cost of Meghna River on Bangladesh side

Rest has to be borne by Bangladesh, says Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb

The Indian government has agreed to fund 80% of the total cost of dredging work in the Meghna River in the Bangladesh side to operationalize the Indo-Bangla waterway connecting the Gomati River, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has said.

The remaining part will have to be borne by the host country, Deb told reporters after meeting with Indian Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonawal on Tuesday night, reports The Economic Times.

Of the 90km stretch from Sonamura in Tripura's Sepahijala district to Daudkandi in Bangladesh, around 40km of river bed needs to be dredged to increase the water level.

The Tripura chief minister said the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways will undertake a hydrographic survey in Howrah and Deo rivers for effective flood management.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Wikimedia Commons

The ministry has already sanctioned Rs25 crore (approximately Tk28.63 crore) to build 10 floating jetties that are to be laid from Udaipur in Gomati district to Sonamura in Sepahijala district, The Economic Times quoted Deb as saying.

The proposed waterway will prove useful for pushing infrastructure development in Tripura, he added.

The cost of cement and steel is quite steep in Tripura because of the high transportation charge, Deb said, adding that it will be reduced if construction materials are transported through the Indo-Bangla waterway.

Bangladesh will also benefit from the proposed waterway, the chief minister said. 

A significant amount of wheat is exported to Bangladesh through Tripura, and “the transportation cost will naturally come down if they use the waterway”, he added.

Earlier, a tripartite deal was signed involving the state, Land Ports Authority of India and Inland Waterways Authority of India to handle day-to-day operations and maintenance of jetties or other facilities, an official of the ports authority told The Economic Times on Wednesday.