After finalizing dates for inaugurating the river transport with Kolkata, Bangladesh is now looking at prospects of having a river transport with Assam and other Indian states.
Bangladesh’s Minister of state for Shipping, Khalid Mahmud Choudhury told this reporter after a meeting with US Ambassador Earl Robert Millar.
The Bangladesh Minister’s statement came at a time when the Indian government particularly in Assam and other parts of the northeast are taking steps to seal the Indo-Bangladesh border due to alleged infiltration and spate in incidents of cross border smuggling.
The neighbouring country will start river transport to Kolkata on March 29—after a gap of 70 years. “We cannot look at economy all the time. We have to consider the relations as well. We will start this and then let’s see where else we can go. We are looking at Assam next. It’s not about regional connectivity alone; we want to spread to other places in India also. The more we can spread, there will be the more capacity enhancement for us,” Choudhury said.
On March 5 this year, union home minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated a 61 kms long ‘smart fencing’ between India and Bangladesh in Assam’s Dhubri district and said that the entire stretch of the Indo-Bangla border will be fenced using smart technology over a period of time.
Singh inaugurated the project titled BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) under Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) on Indo-Bangladesh border in Dhubri district of Assam on Tuesday.
This is the third such smart fence after two projects of similar lature covering a 10 kms stretch in Indo-Pakistan border was inaugurated last year.
CIBMS involves deployment of a range of state-of-the-art surveillance technologies — thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms, aerostats for aerial surveillance, unattended ground sensors that can help detect intrusion bids, radars, sonar systems to secure riverine borders, fibre-optic sensors and a command and control system that shall receive data from all surveillance devices in real time.