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India to build bridge over Feni river
AGARTALA, JUN 1 (IANS):
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Published on 1 Jun. 2010 11:51 PM IST
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India will construct a bridge over Feni river in southern Tripura to get access to the Chittagong international sea port in Bangladesh for carrying goods and heavy machineries for the land-locked northeastern region, a state minister said here Tuesday.
The Bangladesh government has agreed to allow India to use the Chittagong port, about 75 km from Tripura’s southern bordering town Sabroom.
“After Bangladesh government’s approval to India to build the all-important bridge, we are now preparing the detailed project report (DPR) for the 150-metre-long bridge and other necessary facilities,” Tripura Commerce and Industry Minister Jitendra Choudhury told reporters.
He said: “To construct the bridge at par with international standards, the centre would provide required funds from the Assistance to States for Developing Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities (ASIDE) scheme.”
“The proposed bridge would connect Sabroom town of southern Tripura with Ramgarh town of southeastern Bangladesh. Besides construction of the bridge, various others tourism- related amenities and infrastructure would also be constructed in and around the area, 135 km south of Tripura capital Agartala,” he added. According to the minister, India’s foreign, commerce and home ministries in association with the Tripura government have undertaken the project.
During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s New Delhi visit in January, it was agreed that the construction of the proposed Akhaura-Agartala railway link would be financed by India. It would be the second railway linkage between the two neighbours after the Kolkata-Dhaka railway link.
Similarly during Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s visit to Dhaka in March to attend Bangladesh’s Independence and National Day celebrations, Hasina responded positively to Sarkar’s demand saying that Bangladesh has no problem if India constructs the bridge over Feni river at New Delhi’s cost.
Agartala is 1,650 km from Kolkata and 2,637 km from New Delhi via Guwahati, whereas the distance between the Tripura capital and Kolkata via Bangladesh is about 350 km.
The northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China and the only land route access to these states from within India is through Assam. But this route passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.
Choudhury said: “If Dhaka provides transit facilities to India and if we can use the Chittagong international port and other ports in Bangladesh, commodities and machinery can be transported to the northeast from various parts of India and abroad, saving huge time and money.”
“The transit between northeast India and rest of the country and abroad via Bangladesh is likely to become a reality in near future. Tripura is also well-positioned to become the ‘gateway to northeast India, southeast Asia and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN),” Choudhury pointed out.
On an average, distance between important cities of Bangladesh and northeast India is 30 km to 200 km.

 
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