2nd Addendum on Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between India and Bangladesh



News Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury  and Riva Ganguly Das, Photo: Collected

Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury and Riva Ganguly Das, Photo: Collected

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People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India have a long standing and time-tested Protocol on Transit and Trade through inland waterways of both countries. This Protocol, which was first signed in the year 1972, immediately after independence of Bangladesh is a reflection of shared history, trusted friendship and mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries. It was last renewed in 2015 for five years with a provision of its automatic renewal for a further period of five years giving long term assurance to various stakeholders.

2) The Standing Committee on the Protocol and the Shipping Secretary Level Talks are the institutional arrangement between the two friendly neighbours to discuss and make the Protocol more effective. During the discussions between India and Bangladesh at these meetings held in October, 2018 in New Delhi and in December, 2019 in Dhaka, key decisions were taken on the extension of protocol routes, inclusion of new routes, and declaration of new Ports of Call to facilitate trade between the two countries. These decisions have been made effective with the signing of 2nd Addendum to the Protocol today. The specific points agreed by the two sides are explained below.

A. Routes: The number of Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes are being increased from 8 to 10 and new locations are also added to the existing routes: -

I. Inclusion of Sonamura- Daudkhandi stretch of Gumti river (93 km) as IBP route no. 9 & 10 in the Protocol will improve the connectivity of Tripura and adjoining States with India and Bangladesh’s economic centres and will help the hinterland of both the countries. This route shall be connecting all existing IBP routes from 1 to 8.

II. The operationalization of Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi Routes and their extension up to Aricha (270 km) will help the augmentation of infrastructure in Bangladesh as it would reduce the transportation cost of stone chips/aggregate to northern part of Bangladesh through this route. Further, it will also decongest Land Custom Stations on both sides.

III. In Routes (1) & (2) [Kolkata-Shilghat-Kolkata] as well as in Routes (3) & (4) [Kolkata-Karimganj-Kolkata], Kolaghat in India has been added.

IV. Routes (3) & (4) [Kolkata-Karimganj-Kolkata] and Routes (7) & (8) [Karimganj-Shilghat-Karimganj] have been extended up to Badarpur in India. In these routes, Ghorasal in Bangladesh has also been added.
B. Ports of Call: Under the current Protocol, there are six Ports of Call each in India and Bangladesh. They are: Kolkata, Haldia, Karimganj, Pandu, Shilghat and Dhubri on Indian side and Narayanganj, Khulna, Mongla, Sirajganj, Ashuganj and Pangaon on Bangladesh side. The newly added five Ports of Call on Indian side are: Dhulian, Maia, Kolaghat, Sonamura and Jogigopha and on Bangladesh side are: Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Chilmari, Daudkandi and Bahadurabad. Further, two more extended Ports of Call – Tribeli ( Bandel) and Badarpur on Indian side and Ghorasal and Muktarpur on Bangladesh side – have been added through this addendum, increasing the number to eleven Ports of Call and two extended Ports of Call in both the countries.

Inclusion of Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh as a new Port of Call will provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam and Bhutan. Jogigopha also becomes important, since, a Multimodal Logistics Park is proposed to be established there. The new Ports of Call would enable the loading and unloading of cargo transported on the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route and provide a stimulus to the economic development of the new locations and their hinterland.

C. Movement on shallow draft mechanized vessels: As a path-breaking development, both sides have agreed to introduce trade between Chilmari (Bangladesh) and Dhubri (India) through the use of shallow draft mechanized vessels, provided these are registered either under Inland Shipping Ordinance 1976 of Bangladesh or Inland Vessels Act, 1917 of India as per provisions of Article 1.3 of the Protocol and conform to safety requirements. This initiative will allow export of stone chips and other Bhutanese and North East cargo to Bangladesh and easy access for the traders to the hinterland of Bangladesh, enhancing the local economy in Bangladesh and the lower Assam region of India.

Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury  and Riva Ganguly Das, Photo: Collected

D. New Opportunities on cargo movement: Under this Protocol, Inland vessels of both the countries can ply on the designated protocol route and dock at Ports of Call in each country, notified for loading / unloading of cargo. There has been significant improvement in the movement of cargo vessels in an organized manner on the Protocol route carrying both the transit cargo to North East region of India and vice-versa and export-cargo to Bangladesh. The Indian transit cargo is mainly coal, fly-ash, POL and ODC for power projects in North East region. The other potential cargo for movement is fertilizers, cement, food grains, agricultural products, containerized cargo etc. The export cargo from India to Bangladesh is mainly fly-ash which is to the tune of 30 lakhs MT per annum. Around 638 inland vessels (including 600 Bangladeshi flag vessels) completed with approximately 4000 loaded voyages annually.

It is expected that these additions to the Protocol will greatly facilitate the bilateral trade, with improved reliability and cost effectiveness for the business community and the people of both the countries.

Excellent connectivity provided by the existing and the newly added protocol routes is all the more pertinent in the present Covis-19 scenario as it will be instrumental in providing economical, faster, safer and greener mode of transport for traders and business communities of both the countries and will also have environmental benefits for the region.

The 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade was signed at Dhaka on 20 May 2020 by Smt. Riva Ganguly Das, High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh on behalf of the Republic of India; and by Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Secretary Ministry of Shipping, on behalf of People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

More 17 people die, 9614 get covid & 482 recovered



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: barta24.com

Photo: barta24.com

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Seventeen more people died from deadly virus corona while 9614 people got infected by the virus in the last 24 hours across the country.

This information was sent to the media on Saturday ( January 22) by DGHS through a press release.

According to the press release, the latest deaths and cases of infection have brought the toll to 28209 and 1674230 respectively.

The release said that 482 people have recovered bringing the recovery figure to 1556079 so far.

During the period 34311 samples were tested in 852 authorized labs making a total 12082026 samples so far.

It may be mentioned here that the first case of corona infection was detected in Bangladesh on last March 8 (2020) while the first death occurred on March 18.

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Endangered species of small fish farming in 49 upazillas of the country



Tariqul Islam Sumon, Senior Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has taken initiatives to encourage the cultivation of endangered native species of fish based in the area, conservation of snails and oysters and expansion of pearl farming. Following this, the Department of Fisheries is implementing conservation and development projects of native species of fish and snails.

The program will be implemented in 49 upazilas of 10 districts of three divisions of the country through conservation and development of native species of fish and snails. Which will be started from February this year, said the director general of the Department of Fisheries Kh. Mahbubul Haque.

He told Barta24.com that the importance of local small fish in meeting the nutritional needs is immense. But these fish are no longer seen on food plates. Today these fishes are on the verge of extinction due to various natural causes. Considering the need and nutritional value of these fish, we have taken initiative to cultivate and propagate small scale fish based on area. Besides, sanctuary will be declared on the basis of availability of fish. Under this project, skilled and trained manpower will be developed for cage fish farming, fish farming in paddy fields, creation of alternative employment, fish farming training and safe fish production.

He further said that 392 indigenous fish farming exhibition centers have been set up in the project area, 314 pen fish farming exhibitions have been set up, 100 units have been set up for cage fish farming exhibitions, 49 paddy fields have been set up for fish farming exhibitions, 20 snail farming exhibitions have been set up and 100 oyster farms have been set up. Exhibition will be set up, 200 pearl cultivation exhibitions will be set up.

He hopes that after the implementation of this project, the people of the country will be able to taste at least some of the local fish. Besides, the national economy will also be strengthened.

Concerned project director SM Ashikur Rahman told Barta24.com that it will be implemented in 49 upazilas of 10 districts of Dhaka, Barisal and Khulna divisions. These are: Gopalganj Sadar, Tungipara, Kotalipara, Muksudpur and Kashiani upazilas of Gopalganj district, Bhanga and Saltha upazilas of Faridpur district, Madaripur Sadar, Rajoir, Shibchar and Kalkini upazilas of Madaripur district, Shariatpur Sadar of Shariatpur district, Vedarganj, Gosairhat, Barisal Sadar, Agailjhara, Babuganj, Hijla, Bakerganj, Banaripara, Uzirpur, Muladi, Gournadi and Mehendiganj upazilas, Bhandaria and Kaukhali upazilas, Barguna Sadar, Amtali, Patharghata, Taltali, Bamna and Betagi upazilas of Barguna district, Mollahat and Fakirhat upazilas of Bagerhat district and Narail Sadar, Lohagarh and Kalia upazilas of Narail district.

The project director further said that 30,000 beneficiary fishermen will be created in 49 upazilas through the project. 6,000 groups will be formed with the beneficiaries and fishermen. These small species of fish will be kept alive with the help of various government help.

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'Draft law for formation of Election Commission is flawed'



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Former Chief Election Commissioner. ATM Shamsul Huda

Photo: Former Chief Election Commissioner. ATM Shamsul Huda

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Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. ATM Shamsul Huda said that the proposed draft law for the formation of the Election Commission seems to have many shortcomings. For the time being, it seems that this is just to form a search committee. As there is no true representation of the people in the present Jatiyo Sangsad so the major political parties need to be involved in this process. The draft law should be finalized on the basis of the views of all concerned.

He said the Election Commission should make sure that the law is acceptable to the people. A good law can take time if needed. It will not be beneficial for anyone to make flawed laws in a hurry.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the shadow parliament on Saturday (January 22), organized by the Debate for Democracy, at the FDC, entitled "The formation of an acceptable election commission depends on the goodwill of political parties." Chairman of Debate for Democracy Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiran presided over the function. In his speech Hasan Ahmed Kiron suggested the names of Prof. Sirajul Islam Chowdhury , Prof. Abdullah Abu Sayeed and Dr. ATM Shamsul Huda for inclusion in the government during the election.

Dr. ATM Shamsul Huda said that in case of appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners, there should be a clear outline of qualifications and disqualifications. Those with complaints should not be considered. If the Chief Election Commissioner and other commissioners are involved in any corruption, they should be brought to justice. No one is above the law, so no person in a particular position should have indemnity for the trial of a crime. The present Election Commission could have made a better election if it had had goodwill. Their performance is not satisfactory. Although the caretaker government is not conducive to the political system, the elections held under the caretaker government have become more acceptable.

He further said that institutional development is very important for democracy and good governance. Due to lack of political will, no law has been enacted for the formation of Election Commission in the last 50 years. Good governance is hampered if there is no political will to increase institutional capacity. Punishment of government officials for corruption is very rare. But even during the Pakistan period, government officials were punished for irregularities and corruption in the civil service.

In the competition, the debaters of World University of Bangladesh defeated the debaters of Bangladesh University of Business and Technology. At the end of the competition, trophies and certificates were distributed among the participating teams.

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Indian Supreme Court gives historical verdict on Hindu inheritance law



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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The Supreme Court of India has given a sensational verdict on the Hindu Inheritance Act. The main subject of the judgment was the property rights of Hindu widows and daughters.

From now on, Hindu women in India will have full rights over their property after the death of their father, even if they do not leave a will before death. In this case, the rights of the daughters will prevail over the nephews of the deceased.

The Supreme Court of India announced the verdict on Thursday (January 20). According to the verdict, Hindu women will be entitled to their father's acquired and other property. A bench of Justice S Abdul Nazir and Justice Krishna Murari of the country's highest court ruled in favor of the Madras High Court on an appeal against a ruling on the inheritance of property of Hindu women and widows.

The court said that in case of death before making a will, daughters would have more rights over the father's property than other members of the family. If a Hindu man dies before making a will, his property will be distributed among the heirs of deceased.However, the daughter of a deceased Hindu person will get more priority in inheritance of property than her other relatives.

The Supreme Court of India further held that if a Hindu dies in a joint family without any will, then his property will be inherited by the daughters.

The court also noted that the legacy of Hindu widows and daughters is protected by the old Hindu custom as well as by many laws.

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