February 26: Nepal’s Consulate in Kolkata has started a study find out the prospects of easy access to Bangladeshi seaports in order to facilitate the country’s overseas trade.
Nepal’s Embassy in Bangladesh informed that the Consulate in Kolkata made an initiative to utilize the Mongla port in Bangladesh. Tarkaraj Bhatt, deputy consul general in Kolkata, informed that a team from the Consulate has started studying the possible convenient routes and distances for accessing Bangladesh's second-largest port.
A team of Nepali officials, including Consul General Ishwar Raj Poudel, has also conducted an on-site study of the Petrapol Integrated Check Post (ICP) on the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Petrapol ICP links India with Benapole of Bangladesh.
Nepal’s access to Mongla via Benapole will be convenient only if India approves the access to Petrapol ICP, Bhatta informed. The port of Mongla is 145 kilometres from the ICP. According to Nepal-Bangladesh trade agreement, Nepal can use the ports of Mongla and Chittagong.
Likewise, Petrapol ICP is the main gateway for Indo-Bangladesh trade. India imports 140,000 containers of goods annually from the ICP and exports 120,000 containers.
According to the Nepal-Bangladesh trade agreement, Nepal can also use Bangladesh's Benapole ICP, informed Deputy Consul General Bhatta.
"Nepal needs to amend its trade agreement with India to use the Petrapol ICP. For that, a proposal should be made at the next intergovernmental meeting, ”Bhatta informed.
Bhatt added that Nepal needs to persuade the Indian side to use the ICP route to access the Mongla port.