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Tripura holds trial run of cargo transport using Chittagong, Mongla ports of Bangladesh

Cargo would be imported to Tripura via the Kolkata-Mongla-Bibirbazaar-Sonamura route once it is launched full-fledged, said officials.

"Development of northeast India, especially development of Tripura, is impossible without developing Bangladesh," Bhoumik said and urged both countries to work out a formula to expand the scope of exporting more items to Bangladesh through Tripura.(Photo credit: Unsplash)

The Tripura government Tuesday launched the trial run of goods transport using the Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh via Srimantapur Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Sonamura in Sepahijala district, 60 km from Agartala.

Cargo would be imported to Tripura via the Kolkata-Mongla-Bibirbazaar-Sonamura route once it is launched full-fledged, said officials. Bilateral trade holds special significance for Tripura, since the state is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides and shares an 856-km-long international border with the country.

Union minister for social empowerment and justice Pratima Bhoumik and Tripura Industries and Commerce minister Santana Chakma welcomed the goods transport at Srimantapur Tuesday afternoon and said the development of Indo-Bangla relations is essential for development of northeast India.

Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for development, Bhoumik said, “The PM has set the next 25 years as Amritkaal. This is the right time for development, this is the time for progress. All of us must work to develop our country as the number one country of the world.”

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She also said Indo-Bangla relations and ports between the countries have to be developed, adding that the government of India has already allocated funds for developing Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh.

“Development of northeast India, especially development of Tripura, is impossible without developing Bangladesh,” Bhoumik said and urged both countries to work out a formula to expand the scope of exporting more items to Bangladesh through Tripura.

Tripura currently exports 25 listed items to Bangladesh through different ports, where there are separate port restrictions. However, almost all items are allowed to be imported from Bangladesh, resulting in a highly imbalanced trade relation between the two countries.

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Union minister Bhoumik today urged Assistant High Commissioners of both countries who joined the event at Sonamura, to ensure that at least 50 items could be exported to Bangladesh through Tripura.

She also urged authorities to expedite revival of an existing Pre-Partition roadway between Srimantapur in Tripura and Bibirbazaar in Bangladesh. The union minister said people of Tripura would join Bangladesh Vijay Diwas in December this year and asked authorities of both the countries to organise the event accordingly.

Currently, Tripura exports goods worth Rs 30 crore to Bangladesh annually but imports materials worth Rs 645 crore. After the floating jetty was launched at Sonamura for the riverine protocol route in July 2020, former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb expressed hopes that with new transit routes, the state would be able to cut down on the trade deficit and export goods worth Rs 400 crore and import goods worth Rs 2,000 crore in the next one year.

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Deb also predicted Tripura would be able to export goods worth Rs 1,200 crore and import worth Rs 4,200 crore in five years. However, the heightened hopes are yet to be fulfilled as both the nations continue to work out scopes of bilateral trade and commerce.

Tripura Industries minister Santana Chakma, who joined the event Tuesday, said both India and Bangladesh are working together to strengthen economic and trade ties and mutual relations and said Tripura is working to solidify the relations as well as a close neighbour.

On the first day, plastic raw materials worth Rs 9,04,891.75 were imported from Bangladesh. The goods would be further sent to Silchar in Assam, officials said.

First published on: 16-08-2022 at 09:50:07 pm
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