The Government has approved Tripura’s proposal to set up a second Integrated Check Post in the state to build better trade, commerce and bilateral relations with neighbouring Bangladesh, officials said.
The decision came during an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Secretary of Border Management of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) held on Monday in New Delhi. The project would be implemented by Land Port Authority of India in the lines of Akhaura Integrated Check Post (ICP), which was set up in 2013.
Special Secretary Kiran Kumar Gitte represented Tripura in the inter-ministerial meeting and flagged the need for full-fledged ICP at Sabroom keeping in view huge traffic of people and goods, a senior officer from the Chief Minister’s Office informed.
The official also informed that the ICP project would be directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) due to its geopolitical importance.
Tripura sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs for constructing an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Sabroom linking Feni Bridge way back in 2016. The proposal was approved in-principle by Land Port Authority of India in February 2018.
While the final approval came on Monday, Tripura’s Industries and Commerce Department has already identified 49 acres of land for setting up the ICP at Sabroom. The plot includes 9 acres of government land other than private space which would need an acquisition.
For the past few years, efforts to provide access of Chittagong Port to NE Indian states picked momentum. Several phases of provisionally approved transit rights were also given to move heavy equipment via waterways to Tripura during setting up a 726.6 MW thermal power project at Palatana in Gomati district.
These include ongoing works for Agartala-Akhaura international rail link in West Tripura district, inland waterways transport at Sepahijala district and agreement signed by the Ministry of Shipping with the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh in December 2018 which would allow transportation of goods from Chittagong Port.
Meanwhile, a bridge is being built on River Feni here, which divides India and Bangladesh on the southernmost tip of Tripura with an estimated expenditure of Rs 73 crores.
The 150-metre long 4-lane bridge would connect Tripura with Chittagong port in Bangladesh, which is only 70 Km away from the Indo-Bangla border, and play an important role in the proposed economic corridor through India, Bangladeshi, China and Myanmar. Feni Bridge project started in October, 2017. It is expected to be completed by March, 2020.
Senior MHA officials and officials, executives from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of DoNER, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Border Security Forces (BSF) and Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) were part of the meeting on finalising Sabroom ICP on Monday.