The longest vessel to sail on the river Brahmaputra. Photo: Collected

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The longest vessel to sail on the river Brahmaputra. Photo: Collected

The longest vessel to sail on the river Brahmaputra today reached Pandu port in the northeastern Indian state Assam’s Guwahati after travelling through Bangladesh – paving the way for regular barging operation between Kolkata and Guwahati via the neighbouring country.

The 90m long flotilla is 26m wide and loaded with a draft of 2.1m. It successfully completed the pilot run of heavy cargo movement from Haldia dock near Kolkata to Pandu port carrying 1,793 tonnes of steel rods from Tata Steel factory in Jamshedpur in India, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

The vessel along with two barges – DB Kalpana Chawla (named after American astronaut of Indian origin) and DB APJ Abdul Kalam (in memory of India’s former President) – were flagged off from Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Haldia by India’s Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on February 16.

The pilot run of the vessel lays the path for commencement of barging operation from Kolkata to Guwahati via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP), an official statement said.

The governments of India and Bangladesh funded the dredging of the route’s stretch with 80:20 ratio respectively for seamless navigation.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as well as Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) worked together so that the cargo movement can take place smoothly.

Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting the pilot project.

“On behalf of the people, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Bangladesh government for partnering with us to revive one of the best modes of transportation and creating an opportunity for mutual benefit and economic growth,” he further said.

In the past, two separate vessels carried 200 tonnes of foodgrains from Patna to Pandu, successfully completing the movement of cargo between the rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Besides, an Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) for Numaligarh oil refinery in India was also transported via India-Bangladesh Protocol route along the rivers earlier.



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