More waterway link to boost NE India, Bangladesh trade

Experts, lawmakers, academicians and traders ...

By Sujit Chakraborty

Experts, lawmakers, academicians and traders have advocated for more waterway connectivity and development of related infrastructures to boost trade and economy between India’s northeastern states and the neighbouring Bangladesh. There are more than 300 rivers in Bangladesh of which 57 are transboundary rivers. Out of the 57 transboundary rivers, 54 rivers, including Ganga, Brahmaputra and Teesta, are common with India and the remaining three with Myanmar. Industry and trade body FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) has suggested developing the required infrastructure to facilitate and enhance waterway connectivity between Bangladesh and the northeastern states, which share 1,880 km of borders with Bangladesh, including riverine frontiers.

FICCI Director (northeast chapter) Biswajit Chakraborty said: “Lives and livelihoods of the people dwelling across the Meghna basin could positively benefit from transportation and trade through waterways. Improvement in factors owing to predictability, cost, convenience and technical infrastructure would largely help businesses to flourish in the short and medium term.” He, however, said that the rate of siltation has vastly increased due to deforestation in the upstream of Meghana. “Comprehensive approaches of large-scale afforestation, coupled with larger river training exercises and building of the required infrastructure could result in long-term benefits for the region,” Chakraborty said while speaking at a virtual discussion on ‘Engaging the private sector in reviving waterways in the Meghna Basin for trade and transit’.

Tags: Bangladesh