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India: Govt. for waterway corridor connecting North-eastern States

November 13, 2018

Source: www.india.gov.in

Working towards its aim to encourage business opportunities in India, the Government has been in the process of development of policies and framework facilitating the entrepreneurial growth of the nation. Introduction of investment friendly schemes and improving the availability of opportunities the Government is enabling the country to raise its level on the global index of ‘Ease to Business’.

Geographical interruptions

While nearly all the States of India are present on the same landmass interconnected with another, some of the States of the country located in the north-eastern region face the challenge of being geographically separated with them owing to the presence of an independent distinguished nation of Bangladesh. These States are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

The relatively less developed north-eastern States of the nation face economic hurdles in respect of the aspects of their infrastructure, agriculture and industrial as well as development in comparison to other States. The geographic orientation of these States prevents direct interaction with the remaining States of the country thereby making it difficult to establish a straight connection. The current system of road transportation system makes it time consuming and expensive to conduct transaction in the north-eastern sister States.

Increasing the connectivity

The Government is working on a plan to set up a waterway freight corridor to connect the mainland with the north-eastern states of India via Bangladesh.[1] This step would substantially reduce the time taken to transport goods to the eight north-eastern states and costs.

The proposed 900-km waterway would be used to transport freight from the northern and eastern states to the northeast and would start near Haldia in West Bengal, go to the Sundarbans, merge into the Padma river in Bangladesh and then join up with the Brahmaputra in Assam.

Expected Impact

The Government has aimed for an integrated progress of the nation as a whole. However, the geographic interruptions have restricted the growth of the north-eastern States of the country. In order to combat this lacuna and to strategize business development and advancement of such States of the country, thereby safeguarding their interests, the Government is in the process of opening a corridor of opportunities by sanctioning the freight waterway through Bangladesh.

This waterway is not only expected to reduce the time for transportation to the north-eastern States but it shall also be able to reduce the costs up to 70%. The waterway is also expected to foster the trade relations of the country at international level by promoting commercial transactions with the neighbouring country Bangladesh.

[1] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/government-plans-waterway-freight-corridor-via-bangladesh-to-northeastern-states/articleshow/65927538.cms

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