NADI Declaration for better river transport

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SUBIR BHAUMIK return from Shillong

The NADI Festival 2016 that brought together participants from five countries has pitched for developing river transport in a big way.

Participants from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar joined the two-day festival ended in Shillong.

The 149-member Bangladesh delegation to the event was led by Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon.

“The river transport system prominent before independence should be revived. The rivers which are common to adjoining neighbouring countries need to be given more emphasis for development of the region,” said the declaration.

NADI-Festival

Delegates at NADI Festival 2016

The declaration also called for a ‘collective dialogue’ among the five countries for developing use of common rivers for ‘cheap connectivity, bustling trade and clean environment.’

 

The festival was organised by Asian Confluence, a Shillong-based think tank, with support from the Meghalaya state government and several other organisations.

“There would be continuous dialogue and the Meghalaya government has promised to support the NADI festival every year to promote closer understanding between the five countries on how to use, protect, preserve and develop the common rivers,” said Sabyasachi Dutta, director of the Asian Confluence.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma strongly pitched for an ‘early and comprehensive understanding’ on the Teesta River between India and Bangladesh.

“I appeal to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to help the India and Bangladesh to find a solution on sharing the Teesta waters.”

Former Assam tourism official Smita Mishra proposed a high-value river cruise from Murshidabad, the capital of Nawabi Bengal, to Dibrugarh in Upper Assam using the Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers in Bangladesh and the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India.

“This will be a great draw for foreign tourists, non-residents Indians and Bangladeshis as well as those from the two countries and the neighborhood. Ocean cruise is about fun and frolic, river cruise would be about as much about landscape as about heritage and history,” Mishra said in an approach paper for the tourism segment of the conference.

a high-value river cruise from Murshidabad, the capital of Nawabi Bengal, to Dibrugarh in Upper Assam using the Padma, Meghna and Jamuna rivers in Bangladesh and the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India

Journalists from the five countries pitched for greater media cooperation between these countries to heighten awareness about rivers, environment and climate change.

The media segment of the conference, chaired by columnist Syed Badrul Ahsan recommended a five-point action plan to develop closer ties between media houses and practitioners of the five countries.

It called for trans-border handling of media projects on key issues like rivers by leading media houses in these countries, cross-border internships for budding journalists, more news exchange agreements between media houses on the pattern of the IANS-bdnews24.com deal, and awareness visits by mediapersons in each other’s countries.

“Our journalists should visit Bangladesh and your journalists could come here to develop appreciation for each other’s point of view on key issues like common rivers. Only then can we educate our audiences and readers and give them an unbiased picture,” said Manas Choudhury, managing director of the ‘Shillong Times’ and a former legislator of Meghalaya.

Credit: bdnews24.com

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