Carrying oil, LPG to NE thru Bangladesh: India seeks temporary permission

Dhaka weighs nod as rains, landslides ruin Meghalaya, Tripura roads

SYFUL ISLAM | Saturday, 25 June 2022

Dhaka is considering Delhi's proposal for using Bangladesh territory to transport fuel oils and gas from Meghalaya to Tripura as catastrophic rains and landslides in northeastern India halted vehicular movement there.

The High Commission of India recently sought permission to carry petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by using a part of roads in Bangladesh's Tamabil in Sylhet and Chatlapur in Komolgang for the time being, officials said.

Documents show that India wants to carry BS VI gasoline 416 kiloliters per day, 768 high-speed diesel (HSD) per day, and 200 tonnes LPG per day using the Bangladeshi roads in border area.

After receiving the plea the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) recently held an inter-ministerial meeting and made an initial decision to allow the transportation to the Indian states.

However, the ministry decided to take opinion from the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) as to whether transportation of such a volume of fuel oils and gas each day bears any "infrastructural-security risks".

Also, opinion will be sought from the BERC to designate some refuelling station and to fix refuelling price, if the Indian vehicles need refuelling during the temporary transit.

Moreover, the ministry discussed the duty bond and risk guarantee of the commodities to be carried by Indian vehicles. The Indian High Commission had informed the ministry that the insurance of the transported commodity had been obtained from Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd until May next year.

The ministry, however, decided to take opinion from the Financial Institutions Division and the National Board of Revenue whether or not the insurance coverage of a foreign company is acceptable in Bangladesh and how the duties will be realised if any rules are broken.

The meeting also decided to take opinion from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) whether the Indian vehicles having tracking device can be tracked in Bangladesh while passing through.

According to the High Commission the tank trucks are fitted with GPS/GSM module- based vehicle-tracking system. The real-time tracking of the tank trucks is possible within India but the same in Bangladesh may not be possible due to network limitations.

Sources said the meeting had discussed that a mechanism to track the Indian vehicles is required to ensure security of the commodities and also the inland route. "Tracking is also required if any vehicle becomes inoperative or kept static intentionally," it was discussed.

A senior official at the commerce ministry said the permission to use the territory will be given after receiving opinion from the ministries and departments concerned.

Neighbouring India enjoys road-and water-transit facilities through Bangladesh to carry goods into its landlocked northeast. The two countries signed an agreement to this effect in November 2010 while a protocol was signed in 2015 allowing India to use Bangladeshi waterways to carry its goods.

Also, India has been given permission to use Bangladeshi ports to carry goods from any of its state into another.

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