Bangladesh considering India’s proposal to use Chittagong port

March 14th, 2008 - 5:55 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, March 14 (IANS) Bangladesh is considering an Indian proposal to allow the Chittagong international port to ferry men and materials to and from India’s northeast, Indian officials said here Friday. Chittagong, southeastern commercial town and an important international port in Bangladesh, is only 75 km from Tripura’s border town Sabroom, which is 175 km south of state capital Agartala.

“The Bangladesh government is actively considering the Indian proposal to allow Chittagong international port, situated in the southeastern part of the country, to be used by India for easy communication with northeastern states and Southeast Asia,” said Sudhakar Dalela, councillor (trade and commerce) of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Dalela and other Indian officials accompanied by Bangladeshi officials have visited the India-Bangladesh land custom stations along Tripura.

Of the 32 land port customs stations along the 4,095-km India-Bangladesh border with West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, a large number are not functioning, according to reports available with the Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

“Both countries are now building up necessary infrastructure in these land customs stations to further boost border trade and export-import business between the two neighbours,” Dalela told journalists.

He said: “India is also financially helping Bangladesh to upgrade roads connecting to these land customs stations while India had already developed infrastructure, including roads, to further increase the trade with Bangladesh.”

Dalela said improved trade relations between the two countries could help the Chittagong port emerge as the Hong Kong of South Asia and India had been consciously doing all it could to promote regional cooperation on different aspects.

Tripura Chamber of Commerce president M.L. Debnath said: “After erection of barbed wire fencing along the India-Bangladesh border, the importance of land-ports has increased manifold and illegal trade also reduced substantially.”

India’s railway budget for 2008-09, presented last month, has announced plans to connect Tripura’s southernmost sub-divisional town of Sabroom with a railway line.

Welcoming the decision, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said: “If the Indian Railways extends its line up to Sabroom, it will be very easy to connect with the Chittagong international port, which is just 75 km from the bordering town.”

“After extending the railway line to Sabroom, Tripura and the entire northeast would be linked with Southeast Asia,” Sarkar said.

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