Faster grain transport to northeast on cards as Bangladesh agrees to open shorter river route
Currently, it is a tough task for the Food Corporation of India to carry PDS grain to most of the northeast due to tough geographical terrain, vagaries of nature and insurgent groups’ blockades. A truck must negotiate more than 1,650 km to carry grain from Kolkata to Agartala through Guwahati — a distance which can be slashed to 350 km if the Bangladesh route is used.
According to sources, as part of a pilot project, FCI, in collaboration with the Inland Waterways Authority of India under the shipping ministry, has called for tenders from private players to transport food grain from Kolkata to the Ashuganj river port. From Ashuganj, grain will be loaded on the trucks for transport to Agartala, which is about 50 km from the river port on the Bangladesh side.
Sources told FE that under the pilot project, around 10,000 tonnes of rice would be transported from Kolkata to Agartala through the river route. “After anlysing the feasibility of the project, we will try to send more grain through the Bangladesh route,” an FCI official said. There is also a proposal to develop the river port with
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