Gumti excavations to increase imports to increase exports and imports to Arunachal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura in northeastern India.
The Ministry of Shipping has taken such an initiative of Gumti excavations under the navigable recovery project of Gumti river. That is why the whole process is almost at the last stage. The project will be presented to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council or ECNEC meeting soon, the Ministry of Shipping said.
Experimental shipping trade has already started with these states of India through Gumti river. But due to the naval crisis, this trade is not seeing success without dredging the Gumti river. Therefore, the Ministry of Shipping had sent a development project proposal (DPP) worth Tk 697 crore to the Planning Commission for river dredging. However, the old DPP has been amended and sent to the Planning Commission again. The cost of the new project has been estimated at Tk 28 crore 70 lakh. The government-funded project will be implemented from January 2022 to June 2025.
In this regard, Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury told that waterways mean cost savings in transporting goods. If we dig or repair the waterways, on the one hand it will be possible to transport goods at low cost and on the other hand it will save time. I will dig Gumti river as a part of this. This will facilitate the export and import of goods to other states of India including Tripura. This will benefit both countries. We have brought all the work to the final stage. I hope I can start the project implementation work soon.
According to the Ministry of Shipping, the Gumti River originated in India and entered Bangladesh through the Jagannathpur Union of Comilla Sadar Upazila. After that it crossed the 150 km spiral path through Comilla’s Sadar, Debidwar, Companiganj and fell into the Meghna river in Shapta area of Daudkandi. The Gumti River originates from a place called Dumur in the northeastern highlands of the Indian state of Tripura.
The river is 93 km long from Sonamura in Sepahijla district of Tripura to Daudkandi in Comilla, Bangladesh. 69.5 km of this waterway is in Bangladesh and the rest is in India. At present, cargo ships weighing a maximum of 50 tons can handle this waterway. If the waterway is excavated, it will be used as one of the direct import-export routes between Bangladesh and Tripura. The Ministry of Shipping claims that if the project is implemented, large cargo ships of 200 to 400 tons will be able to operate on this route.
Most of the cement factories in Bangladesh are located on the banks of the river Meghna. As the use of Meghna Bridge is prohibited in Daudkandi, one has to take a truck from Narayanganj or the adjoining Moktarpur and take 20 tons of cement through Narsingdi, Bhairab, Brahmanbaria, Comilla and reach Bibi Bazar land port. This increases the cost of transportation. If the waterway is opened through Gumti, the distance from Narayanganj to Sonamura will be 125 kilometers. Being a waterway will also reduce the cost of transporting goods.
Transporting goods from Kolkata, Delhi or other regions to these states takes a lot of time and money. In this case, transporting goods to the northeast using Bangladesh’s water, land and railways saves both time and expense. With that in mind, goods are being transported by sea to various states in the Northeast under naval protocol and connectivity with Bangladesh, but to a lesser extent.
But due to the naval crisis on the Gumti river and a few low-altitude bridges, cargo ships had difficulty in reaching the port of Sonamura. In this case, the excavation of the waterway will facilitate the transportation of goods, including cement and edible oil, to seven states in northeastern India, and will reduce costs, say traders.
Capital and maintenance dredging of 45 cubic meters with BIWTA dredgers, consultancy services 112 people per month, engineering survey, hydrographic survey, construction of earthen dyke 151 lakh cubic meters, private dredger-excavators with 10 lakh meters of private dredger-excavators. 20 lakh cubic meters will be made. The project also includes double cabin pickup one, land, stairs and radam 10, excavation work, vehicle fuel and office equipment.
Gumti excavations Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting has already been held on these issues. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) member engineer. AKM Matiur Rahman (Joint-Secretary) told Jago News that the development of this waterway will increase the transportation of goods in different areas of Comilla district. Besides, the Gumti waterway will play an important role in exporting goods to other states of India including Tripura, especially cement. The PEC meeting of the project has already been held. Work on the project will begin after ECNEC approval.