New Delhi: The Indian Food Ministry, which has been concerned with the absence of adequate infrastructure at Ashuganj port on the River Meghna, on the Bangladesh side of the border, has urged the External Affairs ministry to take up with Dhaka the issue of using Chittagong port for the transportation of foodgrains.
It has been learnt that the Cabinet secretariat has also discussed the issue with the Shipping Ministry, and that the Indian government would take up the proposal with Bangladesh shortly. Chittagong is located about 250 km from Belonia in Tripura, and is connected by road.
“We want quicker transportation of foodgrain from Punjab, Haryana or Andhra Pradesh to north-eastern states, and using Chittagong sea port would help in reducing cost and time of transportation,” a Food Ministry official told Splash.
The Food Corporation of India (FCI) had earlier undertaken a pilot project through SARR Freight, a logistics company, to transport 10,000 tonnes of rice from Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh to Agartala, Tripura, using Ashuganj river port, which is located about 40-odd km away from Agartala.
It took four months to transport the grain, because of low water levels at Ashuganj port. Instead, bigger ships functioning out of Chittagong port could handle larger quantities in far quicker time.