Agartala, Nov 3 (IANS) As part of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional initiative for uninterrupted cargo movement, a mini-truck carrying private goods reached the Tripura capital on Tuesday from Kolkata via Bangladesh.
“The mini-truck carrying private consignment reached Agartala on Tuesday afternoon through the Akhaura checkpost from Kolkata via Bangladesh,” a customs official said.
He said the vehicle, part of the trial run of cargo transportation between Kolkata and Agartala through Dhaka, was flagged off on November 1. It will now leave for Assam’s main city of Guwahati enroute to Kolkata.
A senior customs superintendent accompanied the vehicle, which was flagged off by Union Transport Secretary Vijay Chibber from in front of Nabanna, the West Bengal government’s civil secretariat.
“When the regular cargo movement is started between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, huge economic benefits would accrue to the people of the participating countries in this sub-regional initiative,” Chibber said in Kolkata.
The BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement aims to ensure that goods laden vehicles of each country ply uninterrupted through designated corridors.
The cargo transportation initiative would reduce the distance between Kolkata and Agartala by nearly two thirds – from 1,550 kms to 640 km.
The BBIN motor vehicles agreement was signed on June 15 in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. The draft protocol, finalised on September 8-9, 2015, at Dhaka, is expected to be signed by officials of the four countries at a conference to be held shortly in northern West Bengal’s Siliguri town.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is acting as the secretariat of the BBIN platform.
India has for long pressed for using Bangladeshi rail and road networks, waterways and ports, especially for easy transport of Indian goods from Kolkata and other major cities to northeastern states.
To save time, costs and to avoid transportation hitches through the mountainous terrain, the Food Corporation of India had ferried over 35,000 tonnes of rice from different parts of India to Tripura via Bangladeshi waterways and surface roads.
Earlier in 2012, Bangladesh had allowed state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to ferry heavy machinery, turbines and over-dimensional cargoes through Ashuganj port for the 726-MW Palatana mega power project in southern Tripura.
The Indian government had spent several millions of rupees to develop the Ashuganj port and related infrastructure.