India-Bangladesh Current Affairs - 2019
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Bangladesh Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved draft agreement allowing India to use its Chittagong and Mongla ports to transport cargo to and from its northeastern states. The draft was prepared after both neighboring countries had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the use of two ports during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in June, 2015.
Agreement on sea ports for transporting goods
Under this agreement, India can transport goods as per capacity of two sea ports. Only Bangladeshi vehicles will be used for transportation of goods within its territory. Indian goods can be transported through four entry points viz. Akhaura (Bangladesh) and Agartala (India’s Tripura), Tamabil (Sylhet, Bangladesh) and Dauki (Meghalaya), Sheola (Sylhet) and Sutarkandi (Assam) and Bibirbazar (Cumilla, Bangladesh) and Srimantapur (Tripura).
Under it, India will have to follow General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT) and Bangladeshi regulations, pay customs duties and buy tax equivalent bonds to transport freight. India will also pay fees for using infrastructure of Bangladeshi land ports. To keep track of cargo new modern tracking system will be used.
The agreement will be effective for five years, but it can be extended for another five years automatically. However, any side can cancel the agreement after giving six months’ notice and suspend deal. Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) will be prepared for implementing this agreement. The SOP will be prepared after consulting with various stakeholders.
India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurated three projects related to power supply rehabilitation of existing railway section. These projects were jointly inaugurated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through video conference.
These three projects are
Rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways: Under this project, bridge and bridge building was constructed, station with platform and shed along with reformation of level crossing and railway line were also built. Mainline of 44.77 km and loop line of 7.77 km was also renovated.
500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh: It will be transferred through existing Bheramara (Bangladesh)-Baharampur (India) interconnection. With completion of this project, India will be supplying around 1.16 Gigawatts of power to Bangladesh. This project announced during his PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015.
Akhaura–Agartala Rail Link: The railway project was conceptualized in 2010. Later, both the countries had signed MoU on this railway project in 2013. It is expected that railway line will become operational in 2019. The railway project consists of constructing 15.054 km long railway line. It will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between two countries by connecting Akhaura in Bangladesh with capital city of Tripura, Agartala through Nischintapur in Indo-Bangla border. It will help to develop socio-economic as well as cultural bond between two neighbouring countries.