Bangladesh and India have decided to develop their land ports for a cost-efficient and expeditious trading between the two neighbouring countries.
In a recent meeting of the Joint Working Group, both sides made this agreement.
“Infrastructures will be built and renovated in the border areas stretching 150 feet,” said Shawkat Ali Waresi, joint secretary to Bangladesh’s commerce ministry.
The secretary who headed five-member Bangladesh team to the two-day meeting held in New Delhi on June 13 and 14 told the Dhaka Tribune on Thursday that new roads will be constructed and the old ones will be repaired.
“We have made this agreement on development of our land ports,” he said.
This was the 8th meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Working Group on Trade.
Shawkat Ali Waresi said the Indian authorities told the meeting that they would spend Rs4.67bn to develop seven import tax stations at Agartala, Petrapole, Dhoki, and Samastipur.
They also set time-frame for the works which include the Agartala works will be completed in 2013, Petrapole in 2014 while those of Dhoki and Samastipur in 2016.
Earlier, Indian government imposed a ban on construction works of any infrastructure in these 150-feet border areas because of security reasons.
On the other hand, Bangladesh is now building four new land ports to boost trade with the neighbouring India.
They are Jibannagar in Kushtia, Meherpur, Chilahati in Nilphamari and Teghamuk in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
“The construction of four land ports is a part of a master plan of infrastructure development,” said Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan.
He said the land ports authority has already acquired lands for the projects.
Bangladesh now has a total of 18 land ports. But nine of them are in full operation. The other nine are not fully functional due to lack of necessary infrastructure facilities.
The Bangladesh Land Port Authority earlier handed over six land ports to private operators in line with a policy decision of the government.
Three more land ports are under consideration to be privatised this year under Build-Operate-Transfer mechanism for a period of 25 years, official sources said.
The trade between Bangladesh and India is largely dependent on land ports. According to the experts, the trans-border trade between these two nations faces different problems because of poor infrastructures in land ports.