Bangladesh plans waterway transit for Bhutan

January 17th, 2011 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Jan 17 (IANS) Bangladesh plans to have an exclusive Teesta river waterway transit for landlocked Bhutan, an official said.A government committee is preparing the final documents to give transit facilities to neighbouring countries to enable them to reach Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Mongla ports, the Daily Star newspaper said Monday.

Teesta is one of the major river systems in the region. It flows through India into Bangladesh.

Bhutan Prime Minister L. Thinley was here on a four-day visit last week when he proposed three-way talks between Bangladesh, Bhutan and India to speed up the transit issue.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed a joint communique for regional transit including Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan during her visit to India in January last year.

India has been providing access, and has agreed to develop air and road links that would facilitate regular movement of goods.

A senior member of Bangladesh government’s transit sub-committee said the country is considering “potential routes” which could be included for regional connectivity, besides the “conventional routes”.

A waterway transit for Bhutan from Bangladesh’s Doikhawa border under Lalmonirhat district is likely, said the official who asked not to be named.

This is a potential transit route for Bhutan, as the country is eager to use Mongla Port, he added.

“We have already identified major conventional transit routes for India, Nepal and Bhutan. Now we are spotting new routes for them. We are also planning for a railway transit among the South Asian nations,” the official said.

Studies are still progressing on transit fees and infrastructures, he said.

The government formed five sub-committees Dec 13, assigning five specialists to give their input to Mojibur Rahman, chief of the core committee.

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