New Delhi: The Indian government has approved the 6th multi-facilitated Integrated Check Post (ICP) along the India-Bangladesh borders to boost trade, economy and easier movement of people of the two neighbouring countries, officials said on Wednesday (16 December).
According to the officials, the Indian government has already set up or is in the process of setting up five multi-facilitated and multi-utility ICPs in Petrapole-Benapole along West Bengal, Dawki (Meghalaya), Sutarkandi (southern Assam’s Karimganj), Sonamura and Agartala (both Tripura) and the sixth one would be set up in Sabroom in southern Tripura. The works for the ICPs in Dawki and Sutarkandi are almost complete and they will be operational soon.
The Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI), under the Union Home Ministry (MHA), has also set up one ICP each along Pakistan and Myanmar borders and two along the Nepal borders.
A senior official of the Tripura Industry and Commerce Department said that the MHA has informed the LPAI that the Department of Expenditure under the Finance Ministry has given approval of Rs 90.60 crore to acquire land for setting up the new ICP at Sabroom, 135 km south of Agartala.
The Sabroom ICP, which is just 72 km away from the Chittagong international port in southeast Bangladesh, would be set up in 50 acres of land.
In the ICPs, all required authorities and facilities are available, including customs, immigration, banks, weigh bridge, go downs etc.
Besides the ICP, the Indian government has already started work to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the border town Sabroom and Rs 650 crore would be invested in it.
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had on 11 September laid the foundation for the SEZ, where rubber, bamboo, agri-based products and food processing industries would be set up. An official said that initially Rs 60 crore would be spent to develop the infrastructure in the SEZ.
The 1.8 km long Feni bridge connecting Sabroom with Ramgarh in Bangladesh is being built at a cost of Rs 129 crore and would ease the transportation of goods to and fro the northeastern states from various parts of the country and abroad using the Chittagong sea port, Kolkata port and other ports in India and Bangladesh.
The Agartala-Akhaura (Bangladesh) ICP is the second largest trading point between the two neighbours after the Petrapole-Benapole ICP in West Bengal.
Agartala-Akhaura ICP’s senior Manager Debashish Nandi told IANS that trade between India and Bangladesh is now increasing as the Covid-19 related various formalities and guidelines have now been relaxed to a large extent.
Adjacent to Agartala, the Agartala-Akhaura ICP is the most important international trading land port in northeast India with an average of 80-100 trucks loaded with various goods for trades coming to Tripura every day from Bangladesh.
On and average, trades valued at Rs 3 to 4 crore takes place every day through the Agartala-Akhaura ICP.
There are around 35 operational land customs stations along the India-Bangladesh and India-Myanmar borders adjoining the seven northeastern states.
Four Indian northeastern states — Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam — share 1,880 km borders with Bangladesh, while Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh share 1,640 km unfenced borders with Myanmar.