Bangladesh’s objections to set up an Integrated Check Post (ICP) and other issues concering Tripura are likely to be discussed when the neighbouring country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will meet her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi next week in Delhi, an official said.
Hasina will be on a four-day visit to India starting 5 September with a focus on strengthening the “multifaceted” bilateral ties. Her meeting with Modi is scheduled for the next day.
“Due to objections from the Bangladesh side, construction of ICP in South Tripura’s Muhurighat could not be made. The prime minister (Modi) has agreed to take up the issue with his Bangladesh counterpart during her visit,” Special Secretary of Industries and Commerce, Abhishek Chandra, told a press conference here.
Chandra further stated that Tripura’s trade volume with Bangladesh increased from Rs. 390.68 Crore to 1008.4 crore now.
An Integrated Check Post is an entry and exit point on the international border, which has facilities such as immigration and customs.
Chandra said the ‘Maitri Setu’ (bridge) over the Feni River was inaugurated by Modi on 9 March, last year to support the port connectivity with Chittagong in Bangladesh. However, trade has not yet begun as a Land Customs Station was yet to be set up on the other side of the river in that country.
“We hope that the use of Maitri Setu will also come in the meeting between two prime ministers,” he said.
Chandra said two border haats – Srinagar in South Tripura and Kamalasagar in Sepahijala district – were shut down due to the Covid pandemic and the haats are yet to be opened.
The trial run of transportation of goods through Chittagong and Mongla ports of Bangladesh to Tripura via Srimantapur ICP in Sonamura subdivision of Sepahijala district was launched on 17 August. Bilateral trade is of much significance for Tripura given that the state shares an 856 km international border with Bangladesh.
“We want more regular transportation of goods through this route,” Chandra said.
The lower segment on the Gomati River between Sonamura and Daudkandi in Comilla district of Bangladesh has been nominated as a new protocol route and an agreement in this connection was signed between India and Bangladesh in 2020.