For the first time an FCI consignment will enter Tripura using Ashuganj river port of Bangladesh, a senior official said on Monday. About 5000 tonnes of foodgrains, dispatched by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) from Kakinada port in Andhra Paradesh, has reached Ashuganj river port in Bangladesh for entry into Tripura, Chief Secretary S K Panda said.
"FCI officials informed that the consignment of foodgrains have reached Ashuganj port. Unloading of the foodgrains and transportation by trucks for Tripura would be started after the Eid festival on Tuesday," Panda said. The consignment had earlier reached Kolkata from where it was brought to the Ashuganj port by using the waterways of Bangladesh. The port is 37 km from here.
Congratulating Bangladesh for allowing to use the waterways for transportation of the foodgrains, Tripura Transport Minister Manik De said it had cut down our cost and distance from 1650 km to 350 km. He said, for the first time, Bangladeshi trucks would carry foodgrains from Ashuganj directly to the FCI warehouse at Nandannagar here to prevent a second trans shipment at the Akhaura Indo-Bangladesh border and for the purpose of allowing Bangladesh trucks inside Indian territory, the Ministry of External Affairs had given clearances and 'truck scanners' had been installed at the Akhaura checkpost.
"We have also made arrangements for proper escort of Bangladesh trucks along with drivers upto the warehouse and during the return journey," he said.
"The foodgrains usually come by rail using broad gauge railway track up to Lumding in Assam then proceeds by narrow gauge. In the process unloading and reloading is a difficult problem and landslides often create transportation problems,"he said. "We had long been demanding to the central government to take up with Bangladesh for allowing their soil and water for transport of goods to Tripura and there is no denying the fact that the central government has taken up the matter with the neighbouring country on several occasions," the minister said. Another consignment of 5,000 tonnes would be transported to the state as a pilot initiative by FCI to check the feasibility of transporting 10,000 tonnes of rice to the north eastern states via Bangladesh, FCI officials said.
After successful transportation of 10,000 tonnes of rice, the union government was expected to ask Bangladesh to allow 35,000 tonnes of foodgrains to be transported to Tripura annually, they said.
Earlier, Bangladesh allowed ONGC to carry over dimensional machines of the Palatana mega power project in Gomati district by using the waterways and roadways of Bangladesh, the FCI officials added.