India and Bangladesh have initiated a process to improve navigability of inland water transit protocol route between the two countries so that the former can connect river Ganga with the northeastern states, an official said here on Tuesday.
The two countries had agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT), signed in 1972.
"The river Ganga through National Waterway one (NW -1) is going to be connected with the northeast through India-Bangladesh protocol route. We are in an advanced stage," Inland Waterways Authority of India's (IWAI) Member (Technical), Sanjay Kumar Gangwar told IANS.
He said dredging would be required in some part of the route.
"In the protocol route, there should not be any problem up to Dhaka...but at the upstreams of the river Brahmaputra, dredging will be required for improving its navigability," he said at an event "India's maritime Connectivity: Importance of the Bay of Bengal" organised by Observer Research Foundation here.
"We have sent the draft tender document to Bangladesh. Our neighbouring country is in process of finalising the tender document for the dredging in the protocol route. The tender will be floated by the Bangladesh government," he said.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority's Director (Marine Safety and Traffic management) M. Shafiqul Haque said that tender for the dredging in the protocol route would be floated soon.
"In the protocol route, dredging would be required mainly in some stretches under Sirajganj to Doikhawa route on Brahmaputra-Jamuna river in Bangladesh and also under Ashuganj to Karimganj to improve the navigability," Haque told IANS.
Gangwar added that India will bear 80 per cent of the dredging cost and the rest by Bangladesh.
He said the authority is coming out with contract of least available depth for certain period to dredge the river particularly under National Waterway one (NWI), which is Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia.
"The draft of such (least available draft) contract has been shared with Bangladesh authority," he said.
Gangwar said that the plan was to expand NW 1 from Haldia through protocol route to NW 2 connecting the northeast.
The Indian government is developing National Waterway 1 (NW-1) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank. The estimated project cost has been revised upward to Rs 5,369 crore from the initial estimation of Rs 4,200 crore.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)