Secretary Shipping level talks between India and Bangladesh were held in New Delhi yesterday. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India and Bangladesh delegation was led by Mr. Shafique Alam Mehdi, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, and Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh. At the outset of the meeting Shri Rajive Kumar appreciated the good pace of the work executed so far and also expressed hope that the MoUs and Agreement signed will result into enhanced movement of vessels and cargo between India and Bangladesh smoothly.
Mr. Shafique Alam Mehdi while appreciating the efforts of India for development of inland water transport and coastal shipping movements mentioned that this would ensure improved connectivity and promote trade and commerce between the two countries.
The following decisions were taken in the meeting of the Secretary level delegation of India and Bangladesh:
(i) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on passenger and cruise vessel movement
A draft MoU on passenger and cruise services on coastal and protocol route was initialed by the respective Secretaries of the two countries as a token of agreement which will be formalized after approval of the respective Governments.
(ii) Payment of transit fee
Bangladesh side informed that a highly competitive charge of 192.22 BD Taka per metric tonne for the transshipment operations at Ashuganj for movement of goods to and from North-Eastern part of India has been approved by the Government of Bangladesh. Indian side welcomed the steps taken by Bangladesh Government for smooth movement on this route and agreed for the implementation of the same with an option for a review of these rates if considered necessary in future.
(iii) Payment of Bank Guarantee
As a gesture of goodwill and considering the existing friendly relations between the two countries, Bangladesh Government has decided to do away with the practice of insistence upon Bank Guarantee on each consignment of transit cargo. The Indian side welcomed this decision as this would reduce the transportation cost and encourage cargo movement in this route.
(iv) Dredging on rivers on Protocol routes with World Bank assistance
To ensure adequate draft in upper reaches of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route in Bangladesh, it was agreed that Bangladesh will submit a proposal for dredging of rivers in Bangladesh, including the ones under Protocol route, to World Bank for Regional IDA under intimation to the Indian side to enable the Indian side to examine and support the proposal taking a long term perspective under PIWTT.
It was also suggested by Indian side that as the submission of proposal to World Bank under IDA and its eventual execution may take some time, the existing Joint Technical Committee (JTC), as an interim measure, may identify and prioritize the route requiring dredging to achieve 2.5 meter LAD throughout the year and propose a suitable funding option within 3 (three) month time. It was agreed that on receipt of this proposal, the funding, sharing and implementing mechanism can be discussed and decided.