Eastern Times, Dhaka, 27 August : Bangladesh is working to set up good land connectivity with the northeastern part of India’s Seven Sisters – an administrative division of India comprising eight states.
To this end at least seven land ports are being set up with Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Already Bangladesh has five land ports with Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam of India. Among them, Nakugaon and Tamabil land ports connect Bangladesh with Meghalaya; Akhaura and Bibirbazar land ports connect Bangladesh with Tripura; and Sonahat land port connects with Dhubri in Assam.
According to Bangladesh Land Port Authority officials, the upcoming land ports with India will boost trade, commerce and connectivity with Seven Sisters states, especially with Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, state minister for Shipping, on Thursday told Our Correspondent “These land ports will boost our regional connectivity, trade and commerce.”
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formed the Land Port Authority in 2001 when she was prime minister in her first term. Before that we did not officially have any land port, we only had some duty collection stations,” the state minister added.
Khalid said “Our aim is to boost secure and disciplined business with neighbouring countries. When the construction work of these land ports is completed it will help develop our national economy.”
Replying to a question, the minister said “India will also benefit from these land ports. Also, these land ports will strengthen our friendship with the neighbouring country.”
The new land ports will benefit India very much because the northeastern part of India is geographically difficult for other Indian states to reach.
So, if India gets transshipment through these land ports from Bangladesh in future, it will boost the development of India’s Seven Sisters states
Bangladesh will also benefit from these land ports by exporting daily necessities and goods.
Construction work of all of the above-mentioned land ports is currently underway and the construction process has gained momentum recently, according to the officials.
Officials say Belonia land port will connect Bangladesh’s Feni district with the Belonia district of Tripura.
The Sheola land port will connect Sylhet’s Beanibazar with Sutarkandi area of Karimganj district of Assam.
Balla land port of Chunarughat of Habiganj will connect with Paharmura in Khowai district of Tripura.
Bholaganj land port will connect Companiganj upazila of Sylhet with Cherapunji of Meghalaya.
Gobrakura-Koroitoli land port of Haluaghat of Mymensingh will connect Gasuapara of Meghalaya with Bangladesh.
Dhanua Kamalpur land port will connect Jamalpur with Mahendraganj of Ampati district in Meghalaya.
Ramgarh land port of Khagrachari will connect with Sabrum of Tripura.
In addition, Tegamukh land port of Barkal, Rangamati will connect Mizoram of India with Bangladesh but this land port’s construction has been halted due to political instability in the region, said officials on condition of anonymity.
Sources said that both Bangladesh and India had agreed to strengthen connectivity with the northeastern part of India after discussions at several high-level meetings.