The port should connect India to Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts
Land requisition efforts at Ramgarh land port are riddled with complications, leading to delays in constructing the port’s infrastructure in Khagrachhari.
However, construction of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge 1 is still progressing over the Feni River.
On a visit to Ramgarh’s Mahamuni area, the correspondent found that construction of the bridge on the Indian side of the border is also ongoing.
However, no activities regarding infrastructure development of the land port are noticeable on the Bangladeshi side.
According to locals, a person has filed a writ in court claiming ownership of the land that was requisitioned for construction of the land port and approach road.
Thus, the remaining owners of the requisitioned land were not compensated as per the court’s instructions, which brought the construction activities on the Bangladesh side of the land port to a standstill.
Before Bangladesh’s independence, there was a link to Ramgarh’s Mahakuma, in the Tripura state of India, which was stopped after independence.
The Ramgarh land port will serve as a link between India and the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
On June 6, 2015, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, laid the foundation of Friendship Bridge 1 via videoconference; followed by a number of meetings regarding high-level port construction activities by both the countries.
According to Bangladesh Land Port Authority, construction work of the India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge began at a stretch 412 meters over the Feni River; between Ramgarh of Khagrachhari, and the Sabroom area on India’s Tripura State.
Over 1286.9 million Indian rupees (128.69 crore Indian rupees) funded the construction of the bridge.
To evaluate the progress of the construction of the Ramgarh land port and the Friendship Bridge, outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, and former Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan visited the area.
Khagrachhari District Chamber of Commerce President and Khagrachhari Hill District Council Chairman Kongjari Chowdhury said: “Friendship Bridge 1 and the land port will be new beginning for communication between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and Tripura.”
He said the land port users will be able to save time and money for their businesses by using Chittagong International Seaport and airport facilities also.
Additionally, the tourism sector of both the countries will also thrive. Therefore, he hopes for the assistance of the authorities concerned to quickly resolve the land dispute and continue with the construction work, he added.
Khagrachhari Deputy Commissioner Md Shahidul Islam said: “Although the administration has the money to provide for the compensation of the 2.86 acres of land—requisitioned to construct the land port and bridge approach road—we are not able to distribute it due to the court’s directives.
“We hope to start the infrastructure activities of the port after resolving all legal complications and paying compensation.”