Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday urged neighbouring Bangladesh to invest in the northeastern state, pointing to a 25-year development roadmap his government had announced earlier this year.
“India has a big market now. When you send your products they are required to go to customs first, and if your products are made here, you will be getting a subsidy for it. Tripura is going to see nearly Rs 20,000 crore’s worth of infrastructural development. Both the Northeast and Bangladesh will profit from the northeastern market,” Deb said at the Bangladesh Film Festival in Agartala.
“The roadmap for Tripura for the next 25 years has already been prepared. I would request you all to go through our Lakshya-2047 and then take your decision,” he said.
Speaking about the cordial relations between New Delhi and Dhaka, Deb said India didn’t do Bangladesh any favour by helping it in the Liberation War. He said it was India’s responsibility.
He also praised Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her development initiatives. “Bangladesh’s GDP (gross domestic product) has reached a height. All these became possible because of the prime minister of Bangladesh. There were prime ministers in Bangladesh before too. People know well what they had got then,” he said, adding that India had got “such a good personality” like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “who took India to a new height”.
“Both the Northeast and Bangladesh will see their financial development with these infrastructural developments. I feel proud that Tripura will become the corridor of the Northeast. India has good trade relations with Europe and the US, but do we have heart-to-heart connections? One cannot have such relations through business. Our Agartala-Akhaura railway line, Chittagong port, integrated check post, Maitri bridge and border haat have strengthened relations between India and Bangladesh,” he said.
Tripura shares 856-km-long border with Bangladesh, 67 km of which is still unfenced in different patches.
India currently exports goods to Bangladesh through border check posts, and materials worth Rs 600 crore are imported through an integrated check post in the state. The export volume from the state has increased since 2020, when it used to be Rs30 crore.
After a floating jetty was launched at Sonamura for waterway connectivity with Bangladesh in 2020, Deb had hoped that the state would be able to reduce the border trade deficit and export Rs 1,200 crore’s worth of goods and import goods of Rs 4,200 crore in the next five years.
Speaking at the event later, Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Sushanta Chowdhury announced that the government would open the state’s first film institute, in collaboration with Kolkata’s Satyajit Ray Film Institute, in a month. “It will be good if such festivals can be organised in subdivisional and district levels. If we could not let the youngsters know about Indo-Bangla relations, then we could not take forward the good relations between the two countries,” said Chowdhury.
Renowned Bangladeshi actor Ferdous said that students from his country would also benefit from the film institute. He also offered to be a guest artist or lecturer at the proposed institute.