Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Saturday urged the Bangladesh Government to allow India`s northeastern states to use the Chittagong port for the development of the landlocked region.
“Sidelining the pending unresolved issues between the two countries, Bangladesh must allow the northeastern states of India to use the Chittagong international seaport to carry goods, foodgrains, transport fuel, essentials and other items to and from northeastern states and rest of the world,” he said.
Without referring to the unresolved Teesta water sharing and trade related issues, he asked the Bangladesh Government not to mix up the issues of northeastern states with the other unsettled issues between the two neighbouring countries.
The Chief Minister was speaking at the border village of Chottakhola, 132 km south of state capital Agartala, before a huge gathering who assembled in connection with the opening of a gigantic memorial and park built in memory of the Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 Liberation War.
After eight-year-long unrelenting efforts, the memorial and park has been built on 20.20 hectares land comprising valleys and plains at Chottakhola in southern Tripura bordering eastern Bangladesh, at a cost of Rs seven crore.
He said that for the economic development of India`s northeastern states, rail, road, air, water and telecommunication connectivity between India and Bangladesh must be further strengthened.
Sarkar, a Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member, said that during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, the then Congress government in the state led by former Chief Minister Sachindralal Singh played a significant role in providing shelter and relief to lakhs of hapless people who fled the war and took shelter in India`s bordering states, specially Tripura.
Tripura Health and PWD Minister Badal Choudhury while addressing the function said that India wants more closeness with its best neighbor, Bangladesh.
“During the nine-month long Liberation War, Tripura played a crucial role as the state`s location was strategically vital. Dhaka is just 135 km from Tripura and many important cities are close to Tripura borders,” said Choudhury, who also took part in providing relief to the then Bangladeshi refugees.
“In 1971, Tripura`s population was 15 lakh, but the state had given relief and shelter to 16 lakh Bangladeshi refugees who fled their country to escape the bloody war,” he added.
Bangladeshi intellectuals, freedom fighters, artists and academicians also took part in the memorial and park inauguration ceremony.