Dhaka and New Delhi started today the secretary level talks towards signing of agreements on using Chittagong and Mongla seaports and building a multipurpose container terminal at Payra seaport.
The bilateral talks, inaugurated by Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, followed the meeting of the committees for water protocol route, held in the capital city on Tuesday.
Shipping Secretary Ashoke Madhab Roy led the 16-member Bangladesh team to the meeting when Indian Shipping Secretary Rajiv Kumar headed a nine-member delegation.
"The bilateral meeting had discussions on four issues, including use of Chittagong and Mongla ports, construction of a new container terminal for Mongla port, using of lighthouses and lighter vessels and plying of cruise ships," Ashoke Madhab Roy told BSS.
He said there are some issues required to be resolved before signing of the agreements, and India agreed on working out on these issues by December 31.
Roy said following signing of the MoUs, necessary agreements on standard operating system (SOP) would also be signed to determine fees and other admissible charges for using the ports.
The secretary, however, said that India would not be offered any special facility, instead the country would be allowed to use the ports following worldwide standard.
"Tourist and cruise ships would operate between the countries within a specific route, but passengers would not be allowed to get off the ships," the secretary said.
If everything goes on schedule, Bangladesh and India would start using ports by February next year after signing of the planned agreements, he said.
Regarding building the Payra container terminal, Roy said that India had initially been agreed that a private company would be appointed for building the terminal on Public Private Partnership basis.
Following the inaugural session of the talks, Rajive Kumar told journalists that several Indian companies already expressed interest in building the Payra container terminal.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)