DHAKA: The government is going to fix freight charges and transit fees for India to carry its over-dimensional consignments (ODC) through Bangladesh territory for the construction of a power plant at Palatana in its landlocked northeastern state of Tripura.
Foreign Minister Dr Dipu Moni disclosed the move while exchanging views with the journalists at her foreign ministry office Tuesday.
She said, “Officials are still working on it to settle reasonable transit fees and charges for India, considering some other crucial issues like overall impact on the economy of Bangladesh and also in the field of export-import trade.”
Besides India, she added, Bangladesh is going to provide transit facilities to the whole of the region along with India. “So, we have to judge the transit and transshipment facilities regionally while fixing the freight charges and transit fees.’’
The foreign minister, however, said, “We cannot charge any country before the rates are fixed. As soon as the officials would be able to finalize the rates, it would be applicable instantly.’’
In this regard, Dipu Moni mentioned that there has always been scope for a review of any deal anytime. “And we will also consider review or change of any deal in the future in case of necessity and if the situation demands.”
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries for facilitating transportation of heavy equipment to Tripura using Bangladesh’s rivers and roads.
India pays annual service charge for using waterways and river-ports under the River Protocol 1972.
Replying to a question on the debate as the MoU was allegedly signed bypassing the Foreign Ministry, Dipu Moni clarified that the deal was signed after getting “final approval from the Prime Minister” following completion of a long process. “So there should be no question of bypassing the ministry of foreign affaires.”
The foreign minister also hoped that Bangladesh would be benefited from the deal, as heavy equipment would be transported for a power plant in Tripura from where Bangladesh might also get a quantum of electricity to meet its growing power demand.
BDST: 1720 HRS DEC 7, 2010