India and Bangladesh recently signed an agreement to renew the bilateral protocol on inland water transit and trade.
The tenure of the last protocol had lapsed on March 31. The new one will hold good till March 31, 2014.
Acceding to Bangladesh's request for increasing the fee for maintenance of the river routes incorporated in the protocol, India agreed to almost double the amount to 10 crore takas annually. This will cover not only the cost of maintaining the navigability of the routes, but also pilotage fee, canal and berthing charges, sources said.
However, both sides failed to reach consensus on several other issues. They include India's demand for long term validation of the river transit and trade; and extension of transhipment facility at Ashuganj port in Bangladesh, to facilitate transportation of goods to India's North-East via Akhaura. Besides, Bangladesh's request for extending the present protocol to cover coastal services between the two countries and the payment of Customs facilitation fee by India at the rate of $8 a tonne too remain unresolved, according to Exim News Service.