India has started transhipping 10,000 tonnes of rice to Tripura from Haldia port in West Bengal through Bangladeshi rivers and roads.
Operators said Bangladeshi vessels loaded with 5,000 tonnes of rice left Kolkata on July 24 and will reach Ashuganj in Bangladesh on August 6.
This is the second instance of transhipment that Bangladesh extended to India in a “goodwill gesture”. In 2012, Bangladesh had allowed India to tranship heavy machinery, turbines and cargoes through Ashuganj for Palatana power project in southern Tripura.
In both the cases, Bangladesh government waived transhipment charges for India.
Transhipment is the movement of goods or containers to an intermediate destination for final delivery to another destination.
“We will start loading the rice on Bangladeshi trucks on August 7 to transport the goods straight to Agartala in Tripura,” said Sk Mahfuz Hamid, managing director of Gulf Orient Seaways that is carrying the rice from Kolkata.
Around 1,000 Bangladeshi trucks will transport the 10,000 tonnes of rice from the river port in Ashuganj to food warehouses in Tripura. Ashuganj is 31 kilometres away from Tripura's capital Agartala.
With the move, India for the first time has allowed Bangladeshi trucks to enter its territory.
The northeastern states of India are largely dependent on other states for food grain and essential commodities. But there is a huge gap in road and rail networks between these two parts of India.
During monsoon, transport goes haywire due to floods and landslides. India has long been asking the government to allow it to use Bangladeshi land, sea and rail networks to reach the northeast states.