Initiate a bilateral trade agreement with Bangladesh in line with the Indo-Sri Lankan FTA: Assam Industry Minister


GUWAHATI: Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patwary urged the Central Government for a bilateral trade agreement with Bangladesh in line with the Indo-Sri Lankan Free Trade Agreement which will boost the bilateral trade through land route in North East.

Addressing a joint meeting of the Board of Trade and the Council of Trade Development and Promotion organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in New Delhi today, the Industry Minister said that the bilateral trade with BBIN (Bangladesh,

Bhutan, India and Nepal) and ASEAN countries has reached an all-time high, and therefore the trade between the North Eastern Region and neighboring countries through the surface land route must be optimized.


The Minister detailed about the infrastructure facilities of the four Land Custom Stations (LCS) in Assam with Bangladesh and Bhutan and urged to upgrade the same with Electronic Cargo Tracking System and Central Quarantine System . The minister said that this will boost the trade and reduce the congestion at the land ports.

“Access of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh to vessels of North East will boost up trade and commerce. This path-breaking initiative has fulfilled a long-pending requirement of the region,’ stated Minister Patwary.

The Board of Trade sought views of various stakeholders such as government departments, states, exporters and industry members on ways to boost exports of goods and services.

Meanwhile Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Ms Riva Ganguly Das called on the Union Minister Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh in New Delhi.

During the meeting, various ongoing projects were discussed. The Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link (Bangladesh) project was discussed, among other issues. It was discussed that the project will be completed by the year 2020.

The cost of the project is Rs 972.52 crores, which is being funded by M/o DoNER on the Indian side and by Ministry of External Affairs on the Bangladesh side. The project will link Agartala with Bangladesh Railway Network at Akhaura. Once operational, it will cut the travel time for passenger and goods movement between Kolkata and Agartala. The Indian sided length is 5.46 km and Bangladesh side is 6.57 km.

In a official statement the government stated once operational, it will cut travel time of rail journey from Kolkata to Agartala (via Guwahati) of 38 hours and 1500 km to 15 hours and 500 kms. Maitree Express is already running between Kolkata and Dhaka which can be extended to Agartala.

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