Centre to develop 5,000 kms of waterways as Eastern Grid: Sarbananda Sonowal

The centre will develop the Eastern Grid with 5,000 kilometres (kms) of navigable waterways. This will unlock multi-lateral trade potential of $ 49 billion dollars according to Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal. Speaking at the 2nd Inland Waterways Summit organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) Sonowal said the development of this grid will boost regional integration and accelerate development.

“The move is expected to deepen eastern India’s trade within BBIN countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal). It will also further amplify trade potential with countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore,” Sonowal said.

With the seamless connection between National Waterway (NW)-1 (Ganga), NW-2 (Brahmaputra) and NW-16 (Barak), the government is keen to create opportunity through an economic corridor of 3500 kms connecting the Northeast India with the rest of India, via Bangladesh. This will also link Bhutan and Nepal with Bangladesh onto the international trade routes through a multi-modal connections developed in India.

As India develops Sittwe port in Myanmar, the regional economic integration, cooperation and amplification can smoothly happen among BBIN – BIMSTEC – ASEAN countries,” an official statement said adding that this region is one of the least integrated regions in the world.

The statement said that the centre aims to resolve issues with all stakeholders to simplify tariff and non-tariff barriers, transit regulation, interoperability of vehicle fleet and many such technical limitations in the North East. “Beyond the economic advantage, the grid also gives the region strategic advantage of access to international trade routes as well as climate resilience,” the statement said.

Source: The Economic Times

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