Dhaka – The government has cleared a proposal to allow India for transportation of goods to its seven-sister states using two major Bangladeshi ports.
The weekly meeting of the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the approval to use Chattogram and Mongla ports for goods movement to and from India, Cabinet Secretary Md. Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting in Dhaka.
“The draft suggested the agreement to be effective for five years with a provision of auto renewal for another five years (while) either of the countries could cancel it giving six month notice,” state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha quoted Alam as saying.
The agreement will enable India to use Chattogram and Mongla ports to carry goods to its North Eastern states in a very short time.
Four routes were suggested for the goods movements which are – Chattogram Port/ Mongla Port-Agartala via Akhaura; Chattogram/Mongla-Daouki via Tamabil; Chattogram/ Mongla-Sutarkandi via Sheola; and Chattogram/Mongla-Bibekbazar via Simantapur.
Only Bangladeshi vehicles and vessels would be used to carry Indian goods inside Bangladesh territory.
“Primarily the agreement will be signed between Bangladesh and India, and Nepal and Bhutan can also join the pact,” the secretary said.
He said the neighbouring country, however, would have to follow the international rules and General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) as well as Bangladeshi laws and rules in carrying the goods.
The agreement suggested Bangladesh’s tax authorities would take bond equivalent to duties and taxes from Indian companies while charges, fees and carrying cost will be charged according to GATT principle in addition to regular duty and taxes.
The draft deal said Bangladesh authorities would use tracking systems like global positioning system (GPS), e-lock and e-seal to identify the goods carrying vessels.
A major objective of the proposed agreement was to strengthen the existing cordial bilateral ties, Alam added.