Bangladesh will earn massive profits on the condition that they directly invest in Tripura by setting up its industrial units in the Northeast Indian state itself.
Strong connectivity in Tripura built up by the Indian government as part of its “Act East Policy” justifies this thought.
Moti Lal Debnath, president of Tripura Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said: “The only problem that persists in trade between Tripura and Bangladesh is meeting labour costs. The traders from Bangladesh perceive that Indian labour costs are quite steep. However, it is not outlandish because according to an Indo-Bangla pact that enabled the establishment of integrated check posts, all are bound to make their due payments.”
When asked about the problems faced by land ports and Customs office, he said: “There are six land ports in Tripura. The one functioning along the opposite side of River Khowai is facing some inconveniences. It is waterlogged during monsoon. Goods then are imported from Bangladesh through waterways. During dry seasons, goods are brought over here by head-loading. And these systems are neither efficient nor practical.”
Debnath added that owing to a short distance between Tripura and Bangladesh, there are lots of commercial prospects between them.
“Owing to these prospects, Pran Beverages are running a production unit over here very successfully,” Debnath further added.
He continued that Bangladesh can also set up garments and hosiery units over there as well.
On the other hand, Debnath said: “Owing to cultural and lingual uniformities, Tripura and Bangladesh can mutually invest in tourism. But the state government of Tripura is yet to take an initiative in this respect. A tourism company in Chittagong once sought information from the Tripura government’s Information, Cultural and Tourism department. It was a couple of months ago. However, they said department is yet to reply.”
He concluded that as Agartala is the third international internet gateway of India following the installation of the submarine cable, information technology prospects are burgeoning. But there are hardly any entrepreneurs to explore this feasibility. IT experts from Bangladesh can take advantage and invest there.
During his December 2017 visit to Tripura, Bangladesh’s Health Minister Mohammed Nasim in an interview to a local daily stated they could set up pharmaceutical units in Tripura which would be mutually beneficial for Tripura and Bangladesh.
Moti Lal Debnath added that being a small institution, the Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industry is planning to have an audience with the Dhaka, Comilla, Brahmanbaria and Chittagong Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Elaborating on the matter, Debnath said: “We need to broach the prospects of trade between our state and neighbouring Bangladesh face-to-face. Fortunately, we have MoUs with the aforesaid business chambers of Bangladesh. However, we will fix the time and venue of the meeting following the conclusion of the ongoing Tripura polls.”
In an election rally at Tripura on February 8, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured to uplift the profile of Tripura through connectivity with Bangladesh by launching an airport between Sabroom and Chittagong.
On the other hand, Modi has also promised to elevate the Agartala airport to international standards. Consequently, it would become the third international airport in Northeast India following Guwahati and Imphal. Around Rs800 crore have already been earmarked for the aforesaid purpose.