A rake of coal from India's Jharkhand state reached Bangladesh through Meghalaya.
The first rake of coal, measuring 3300 MT arrived on Wednesday (28 September) at Goalpara railway station in Assam, after being dispatched from Bokaro on 25 September, reports The Shillong Times.
It comes after a businessman from Garo Hills won a Coal India auction in Jharkhand paving the way for coal from that state to enter Meghalaya en route to being exported to Bangladesh.
Auction winner Georgeman Marak said the rake consisted of a total of 53 containers filled with coal which will be pushed into Bangladesh through various ports in Assam and Meghalaya.
"Due to the problems of coal extraction in Meghalaya, we had to shift our focus to other countries to meet the demands of our industries. We imported coal from Australia and Indonesia among others. However the quality of the coal was not up to the mark. The quality of the coal from Jharkhand is good and will benefit many businessmen like us in Bangladesh," said SM Al Amin, a Bangladeshi coal importer, who was part of a business contingent that had arrived in Goalpara.
According to Marak, the consignment is the first of many such that will enter the state in the coming months.
"We have been friends with importers from Bangladesh for decades. However the ban on coal mining has stopped the business between the two countries through various ports in Garo Hills. This has also led to a coal crisis in Bangladesh. This is an effort to mitigate that crisis and ensure the smooth relation between us continues," said Marak.
He said they were looking at various ports in both Assam and Meghalaya, including Golakganj, Dalu and Gasuapara through which the coal will be sent to Bangladesh.
He further felt that the move could be a game changer in the years to come. "The coal was won through an auction that was held by Coal India Limited in Jharkhand. We have many more such consignments coming through in the next few months," he stated.