Home Asia Ganga-Brahmaputra Connected Via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route

Ganga-Brahmaputra Connected Via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route

A vessel carrying food grains from Patna (Bihar) reached Pandu (Assam) via Bangladesh. India’s Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, and AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal on 6 March received this vessel on its maiden voyage in Assam. 

The self-propelled vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carried a total of 200 MT of food grains for the Food Corporation of India (FCI), as it completed the maiden pilot run from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh. This historic event was witnessed by the Chief Minister of Assam Hemanta Biswa Sarma and other senior state officials and the Chairman of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Sanjay Bandopadhyay. 

This network of transportation connecting via Bangladesh will help bring goods from mainstream India to the North East. The IWAI is planning to use similar routes to bring goods to the region. 

The vessel started its journey from Ganga River in Patna on National Waterway -1, and passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar. Then it passed through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari in the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route. In its last leg, the vessel entered National Waterway -2 and passed through Dhubri, and Jogighopa. The total distance covered by the ship is 2,350 km. 

On 17 Feb, another vessel MV Ram Prasad Bismil with two barges Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam started the voyage from Haldia and is on the way to Pandu ghat. The vessel carrying 1800MT of steel has already reached Bangladesh Border at Dhubri. Another shipment of Numaligarh Bio-refinery reached Silghat (Assam) on 15 February from Haldia (West Bengal) via the IBP route. Another cargo consignment is also on its way to Silghat.

Welcoming the use of the IBP route, the Assam Chief Minister said “The start of cargo movement through ships through Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) marks the beginning of a new age of economic prosperity for the whole region of Northeast. …this will pave the way for growth & development of the inland water transport.”

The Union Minister 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….”

Under PM Gati Shakti there has been a sustained attempt to utilize trade routes via Bangladesh. 

The IBP on Inland Water Transit & Trade exists between India and Bangladesh under which inland vessels of one country can transit through the specified routes of the other country. While other routes have been operational, connecting Ganga with the Brahmaputra will surely boost the region’s economy and usher in prosperity.