Tripura is all set to open the gates for the land-locked north-eastern region of the country to Bangladesh through Chittagong port.
A 150 sq ft patch of land, just ahead of the border fencing at Nabin Para, in Sabroom, Tripura, has been levelled to erect the first pillar of a proposed ? 130-crore road bridge across the River Feni, which demarcates India and Bangladesh.
Once the construction of the bridge is complete, it will connect Tripura and other north-eastern states to Bangladesh’s Chittagong sea port, approximately 72 km from the international boundary.
There are also plans to connect the village by a four-lane national highway, which is under construction to capital city of Tripura, Agartala which is approximately 132 km away.
A broad gauge rail link is also under construction to Sabroom. The Guwahati-Agartala broad gauge link, inaugurated in July 2016, has already been extended to Garji, which is midway between Agartala and Sabroom.
Notably, both the neighbouring countries have agreed to extend the rail link to Chittagong port as well, but that will take some more time to materialize.
The Agartala-Sabroom road and rail link and the Feni bridge are slated to be completed in two years.
However, Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) are to be set up for smooth trading and thorough fare. Contrary to Land Customs Stations (LCS) that offer rudimentary trade and immigration facilities, an ICP will operate as a full-fledged logistics hub featuring parking lots, warehouses and container trans-shipment facilities. Passengers will also be able to avail airport-like immigration facilities.
Tripura already has such a facility, owned and operated by the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), the sole provider of these facilities along the land border.
Lately, the Tripura government has approached the LPAI to set up a land port at Sabroom. Following an initial assessment, the LPAI identified the need for fresh land acquisition to build the ICP.
This new gateway will be used primarily to bring in supplies from other parts of India and to transport goods produced in the North-east to the rest of the nation through Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, the LPAI is considering taking over the Sitarampur LCS in Tripura’s Sipahijala district, bordering Bibirbazar in Bangladesh.
Srimantapur is the second largest border gate in the State after Agartala that witnesses daily imports of 60-70 truckloads of cement and other building material from Bangladesh.
Source: The Hindu Businessline