BD-India cruise service likely to start in March

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | Published: December 05, 2018 10:29:26 | Updated: December 06, 2018 17:05:52


Photo collected from internet has been used for representational purpose only

Passenger cruise service between Bangladesh and India is likely to start in March next year.

Once it is launched, people can travel from Kolkata to Assam or from Bangladesh to Kolkata or Assam by river vessels.

"The decision in this regard was taken during a shipping secretary-level meeting between the two countries held in Delhi in October," Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad told the FE on Monday.

According to the plan, an Indian private operator will roll out the cruise service from Kolkata to Assam via Sundarbans.

"The Indian side told us that they would start the service in March 2019," said the shipping secretary.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for movement of passengers and cruise vessels on the inland protocol routes and coastal shipping routes was finalised at the meeting, he added.

This has enabled the private operators of both the countries to launch passenger cruise services between the two countries, said Mr Samad.

The operators can run cruise ships on eight protocol routes and eight coastal routes.

India has also agreed to the Bangladesh's proposal to bring Kolkata-Cox's Bazar route under the passenger cruise service.

To facilitate the cargo and passenger vessel services, both the countries have decided to strengthen the night-time navigation facility on their borders.

India has also agreed to bear 80 per cent of the cost of dredging required to maintain the navigability of the protocol routes.

In the last secretary-level meeting, Bangladesh and India agreed to consider inclusion of Rupnarayan River (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in West Bengal in the protocol route.

They also agreed to declare Kolaghat in West Bengal and Chilmari in Bangladesh as new Ports of Call.

According to officials, the new arrangement will facilitate easy movement of fly ash, cement and construction materials from India to Bangladesh through Rupnarayan river route.

Also, both sides agreed to declare Badarpur on river Barak (NW-16) as an Extended Port of Call of Karimganj in Assam and Ghorashal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh on reciprocal basis.

mirmostafiz@yahoo.com

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