India seeks extension of transit facility

Friday, 31 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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DHAKA: India has sought extension by three months of the transit facility for its goods through Bangladesh's waterways ahead of expiry of the agreement on Monday.

The Indian high commission has written to the Bangladesh foreign ministry on the subject, high commission officials told IANS.

The shipping ministry has already approved the proposal and sent it to the prime minister's office for endorsement, ministry sources said.

Under the facility, India pays transit charges to Bangladesh for the transport of goods to its northeastern states through its river routes. Indian vessels transporting goods are allowed up to the Narayanganj river port, 16 km east of Dhaka, and transported by road from thereon.

The sources said New Delhi owed Dhaka taka 20 million by way of transit charges. The two countries entered into the transit agreement in 1972 following the independence of Bangladesh, erstwhile East Pakistan, in the previous year. The agreement had been renewed periodically since then.

Initially, the agreement covered a period six months to one year but the duration had been reduced to two to three months in recent years because of Dhaka's reluctance to enter into a long-term agreement

The sources said India was keen to sign a long-term transit agreement. The Bangladesh government formed a four-member committee of senior officials last year to study the future of the transit agreement.

The committee headed by Commerce Secretary Suhel Ahmed Chowdhury has submitted its recommendations to the government.
Source: IANS
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