A Cabinet proposal to set up 13 new Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) is being mooted by the Union Home Ministry to encourage India’s engagement with its neighbours belonging to SAARC region, as also Thailand and Myanmar, officials said. Among the 13 ICPs, seven will be along the India-Bangladesh border, apart from the three already operational there.
The ICPs planned along the Bangladesh border will be at Hili, Changrabandha, Ghojadanga, Mahadipur, Fulbari in West Bengal, Kawripuichhuah in Mizoram and Sutarkandi in Assam, officials said, adding that the cost of setting up 13 ICPs will be Rs 3,000 crore.
An ICP not only provides various services under one roof but is also equipped with cargo process building, cargo inspection sheds, warehouse, cold storage, currency exchange counters, Internet hubs, clearing agents, banks, vehicle scanners, isolation bay and parking.
Among the new ICPs, only one will be on the India-Pakistan border while four will be on the India-Nepal border and one on the India-Myanmar border, officials said.
Some of the other ICPs are at Dawki (Meghalaya), Akaura, (Tripura) Kawarpuchiah (Mizoram), Jobgani (Bihar), Sunauli (UP) and Rupaidiha/Nepalganj (UP). The setting up of new ICPs was first proposed by the UPA government, which set up a separate body, Land Port Authority of India (LPAI), in 2011 for their management.
Explaining the rationale behind speeding up of ICPs, a senior government official said, “The borders need to be secured against interests hostile to the country. Putting in place systems that are able to interdict such elements while facilitating legitimate trade and commerce are among the principal objectives behind setting up the new ICPs. It is therefore necessary to undertake integrated development of infrastructure at the entry points on our land borders.”
Officials said the Ministry of External Affairs was the first to recommended the four ICPs on the India-Nepal border, and the cost of ICPs on the Nepalese side will be funded by the ministry.
Following the constitution of LPAI, an Empowered Steering Committee headed by the Secretary, Border Management (MHA) and secretaries or senior representatives from the Ministries of Finance (Expenditure & Revenue), External Affairs, Commerce, Defence, Road Transport and Highways, Planning Commission and Railways were involved to expedite the projects. However, after nearly 10 years, only seven ICPs have been set up, of which five are operational. One is expected to start functioning this year and another by next year.
“The cost for setting up the seven ICPs was nearly Rs 700 crore, but we are expecting an increase in the budget of the 13 new ICPs due to multiple factors,” said a senior Home Ministry official.