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.