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India begins trial transshipments to NE via Bangladesh’s Chittagong

Earlier, the Indian government used the Ashuganj river port to transport goods for the Palatana Power Plant in Tripura through the Akhaura land port.

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Dhaka, July 22 : The trial transshipment of goods from India to its northeast, via the sea route, started on Tuesday after four containers bound for the region were unloaded from a merchant vessel at Bangladesh’s Chittagong port, officials said on Tuesday.

India and Bangladesh had signed an MoU for goods for northeast India transiting via Bangladesh’s ports – a small but significant opening up of both Bangladesh’s ports under the broader economic relationship between the two countries.

Chittagong Port Authority Secretary Md Omar Faruk told IANS on Tuesday: “The first ship under the trial run of transshipment of Indian goods to its northeastern states through Bangladesh arrived at Chattogram (Chittagong) port on Tuesday morning.

“MV Shejyoti, carrying back to Chattogam 4 TEUs (20-feet equivalent unit) with 221 containers full of transhipment goods from India’s Haldia port, reached the NCT-1 Berth, the outer anchorage of Chattogram port at around 1.25 a.m. But as night navigation is restricted in the port, that is why we started the navigation at morning,” he said.

MV Shejyoti had left the Syama Prasad Mukherjee port of Kolkata on July 17.

Handling of the containers was completed before midnight and the container trailers started for Akhaura with an escort provided by Bangladesh’s customs security.

Shipping agent sources said the four containers under the trial transshipment contain iron rods and pulses. Those will head to Agartala through the Akhaura Land Port. The consignment of rods will be brought to West Tripura’s Jirania from Agartala, while the pulses will go to Assam’s Karimganj.

Habibur Rahman of Mango Lines, the agent for the merchant vessel, had said that offloading may begin also on Tuesday after completing the formalities.

Indian transshipment goods would enjoy a 28-day free-stay after offloading at the port as per the international transshipment agreement.

Bangladesh will earn 254 takas from the scanning of each container loaded with transshipment goods. Bangladeshi importers also pay the same charge.

Similarly, 30 takas document processing fee for each consignment of Indian goods will be levied, the same amount charged on Bangladeshi importers.

Joint Commissioner of the Customs House S.M. Shamsuzzaman said the transshipped goods will have to pay police 50 takas per tonne as escort charge to reach the Indian border in Tripura from the port by road.

Usually a 20 feet container carries a maximum of 30 tons of goods. According to this estimation, Bangladesh will realise around 1, 500 takas as escort charge for accompanying goods of a container to the border.

Akhaura Customs Officer Harunur Rashid said they have taken necessary preparations for the transportation of the Indian goods, under the trial run.

India is transporting goods to its northeastern states, using Bangladeshi ports, as per the agreement on “The Use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for Movement of Goods to and from India” signed between Dhaka and Delhi in 2018 and a standard operating procedure (SoP) signed in October 2019.

Earlier, the Indian government used the Ashuganj river port to transport goods for the Palatana Power Plant in Tripura through the Akhaura land port.

On the new chapter in connectivity with Bangladesh via container shipping, India’s Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that the transit route will open new opportunities for both countries.

He said that it will provide an alternative and shorter route to connect the northeast region through Bangladesh, reducing distance and time taken in transportation of goods for India and is a win-win for both the economies. On the other hand, job creation, investment in the logistical sector, enhanced business services and revenue generation are advantages that will accrue to Bangladesh. Bangladeshi vessels and trucks will be utilised to move the Indian cargo, the Indian government said.

India and Bangladesh have enhanced cooperation in shipping and inland water trade in recent years. Under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, in addition to the six existing Ports of Call, five more in each country have been added recently. Dredging of inland waterway routes is ongoing under an MoU, signed by the two countries on development of selected stretches of Bangladesh waterways.

The trial transportation of goods to the northeastern states by road, via Bangladesh, had started earlier.

India

CBI arrests labour official in TN in bribery case

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 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Sunday that it had arrested a Regional Labour Commissioner on the charge of demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000.

P Sivarajan, posted as Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) in Madurai, was held along with a private person N Murali after the CBI laid a trap on Saturday and caught them with the bribe amount.

A case was registered after a complaint that Sivarajan was demanding undue advantage from Murali, representing a private company, for issuing labour licence.

Searches were conducted at five places in Chennai and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), including the residence and offices of the accused, said the CBI.

Both the accused were produced in the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases, Chennai, and remanded to judicial custody till February 4.

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Farmers’ stir: Preparations on for Jan 26 tractor rally

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As the farmers’ agitation at the Delhi borders entered the 60th day on Sunday, all eyes are on the farmers’ tractor rally on the Republic Day.

The farmers sitting at the Ghazipur, Singhu and Tikri borders have been making preparations for the tractor rally.

Joginder Singh, the farmer leader of Punjab’s Malwa region and President of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta (Ugrahan), said more farmers were marching towards Delhi along with their tractors from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and other provinces of the country to take part in the tractor rally.

“Volunteers have been assigned specific works for the farmers’ parade”, he said, adding that more than one lakh tractors were ready to take part in the parade, and women too would march to Delhi in open trolleys.

The leaders said they were making preparations to carry out the farmers Republic Parade on the outer ring road within the National Capital Region (NCR).

Punjab farmer leader and General Secretary of the BKU, Parminder Singh Pal Majra, said lakhs of farmers would participate in the rally. He informed that this rally would take place within a radius of 100 km in the NCR.

The farmer unions have clearly said they would carry out the tractor rally in a peaceful manner.

Earlier, the unions held talks with the Delhi Police on Saturday where the former claimed to have taken permission to carry out a tractor rally, while the police said the talks were in final stages.

The farmers have been demanding a repeal of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, implemented by the Central government last year as well as the legal guarantee for the procurement of crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The farmers have been sitting on protest at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year. The farmers’ unions have held 11-rounds of talks with the Central government so far.

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India records 14,849 new corona cases; active cases 1.84 lakh

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Jahangirpuri Delhi Coronavirus Test
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India recorded 14,849 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the active cases to 1,84,408 and total tally to 1,06,54,533, Health Ministry data said. A total of 155 more fatalities took the country’s COVID death toll to 1,53,339.

In all, 1,03,16,786 patients have recovered so far, pushing the national recovery rate to 96.82 per cent, the Ministry said.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 19,17,66,871 samples have been tested so far in the country, including 7,81,752 on Saturday.

India’s corona cases’ tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7 last year, the 30-lakh mark on August 23 and the 40-lakh mark on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16 last year, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and one crore on December 19.

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