Bangladesh minister Hasan Mahmud (3rd right) and Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary (3rd left) along with other officials.

Bangladesh information and broadcasting minister of Bangladesh, Hasan Mahmud who is in Guwahati said that Bangladesh is focused on improving people-to-people contact and strengthening connectivity to improve trade and business through waterways, railways and airways with the northeast region of India.

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“Chittagong Port has a long historical association with Assam and the region since the British colonial period. The century-old seaport has been redeveloped to handle cargo ships with deeper depths. Chittagong Port is nearer to Guwahati compared to Haldia Port of Kolkata. This will not only reduce transportation costs but also boost trade and commerce activities,” said Mahmud during an interactive session organized by the Indian Chambers of Commerce (ICC) in Guwahati.

Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary also attended the session.

Deliberating on the vibrant trade activities that took place prior to independence through the territories which are now Bangladesh, Chandra Mohan Patowary said: “The Barak River used to carry vessels from Chittagong and other ports of then East Bengal to this region. With the formulation of the Act East Policy of Indian government, the disrupted traditional trade routes are gradually being restored and reconnected through the Chittagong and Mongla Ports.”

In a major development recently, the first 260 MT digester package of Numaligarh Refinery Limited reached Silghat in Assam from Kolkata via river route through Bangladesh.

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Minister Patowary called upon the Bangladesh ministry officials to offer necessary support and cooperation for the increase of volume of trade from Assam.

“Bangladesh can take the opportunities of potential sectors of Assam like ethanol, methanol, plastic, hydrocarbon to improve trade and business,” he said.

During the event, the India-Bangladesh trade portal was also launched which will facilitate the business fraternity of both India and Bangladesh. It is a trade portal wherein a database of exporters and importers of both NE India and Bangladesh is uploaded and would enable B2B collaboration between buyers and sellers of both counterparts and also allow business dealings and negotiations between the two sides.

Bangladesh MPs – Shaimum Sarwar Kamal and Momtaz Begum, ministry of information and broadcasting’s secretary Mokbul Hossain, assistant high commissioner of Bangladesh in Guwahati Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, and other senior officials were present in the programme.

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