Promoting Navigational Usage of Inland Waterways in Ganga and Brahmaputra Basins

Expanding tradable benefits of trans-boundary water: Promoting navigational usage of inland waterways in Ganga and Brahmaputra basins – Phase 2

About the Study:

Access to consumer goods and assured markets for local produce is the key factor which affects household income and local economy of economically backward areas.

This is particularly true for areas along the international borders of India and Bangladesh on the banks of river Brahmaputra, where the river is the lifeline of the people and inland water transport (IWT) is the only viable and economic mode of transportation.

Dhubri in Assam, India and Chilmari in Kurigram, Bangladesh are two economically backward areas located on the banks of river Brahmaputra, which are also along the currently functional routes No. 1 and 2 of India and Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) routes. These two locations are the last river ports of either country, also serving as the last declared customs and immigration points of each country.

The proposed study will explore the prospects of cross-border trade via small mechanised boats between Dhubri in India and Chilmari in Bangladesh and its effects on household income and local economy.

Goals and Objectives:

The goal of this study is to support the facilitation of cross-border local trade using small mechanised boats in the international border area of Dhubri (Assam, India) and Chilmari (Kurigram, Bangladesh) along the banks of the Brahmaputra river for improved livelihoods and local economy.

The objectives of the study are as follows:

  • To analyse social, economic and environmental implications of cross-border value chains using small mechanized boats across Dhubri (Assam, India) and Chilmari (Kurigram, Bangladesh);
  • To sensitize policy makers about the issues at grassroot and challenges at policy level to facilitate cross border movement of small mechanized boats

Project Area:

The study will be conducted in Dhubri district of Assam, India and Chilmari upazilla of Kurigram, Bangladesh, and in selected adjoining areas of these two places.


December 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018


The study will involve secondary data analysis and extensive field research in Dhubri, Chilmari and in selected adjoining areas of these two places.

Field research will have stakeholder consultations (boat men, traders, farmers, customs officials, Border Security Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, transporters, community consultations and households) in selected locations of the project area to capture the demand and supply of consumer goods, livelihood opportunities, and market access and income and expenditure pattern.

An ex-ante analysis of the prospects of cross-border local trade will provide insights about the cost and benefits of movement of small mechanised boats for trade and its possible impact on the local economy.

Expected Outcomes:

Specifically, expected outcomes are:

  • Empirical evidence of economic implications (costs and benefits) of cross-border local trade via small mechanised boats between Dhubri in India and Chilmari in Bangladesh
  • Policy recommendations and discourse mapping for facilitating the movement of small mechanised boats for cross-border local trade along the India-Bangladesh PIWT&T protocol routes