Indian garments to be made in Bangladesh
Fabric from India, made in Bangladesh. That is the deal several
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Indian shirt-maker NSL Textile, for instance, is trying to import
readymade shirts from Bangladesh that would be
Agartala: India will
extend and improve its road and rail connectivity with Bangladesh
to enhance trade and also to get access transit through that
country to bridge distances between the mountainous northeastern
states and rest of India, officials said here Monday.
As per the agreement signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi early this year, India will
construct a bridge over Feni river in southern Tripura to get
access to Chittagong port for carrying goods and heavy machineries
for the land-locked region.
The Chittagong international sea port is about 75 km from Tripura's southern border town Sabroom.
The proposed bridge, to be built at a cost of over Rs.13 crore,
would connect Sabroom and Bangladesh's Ramgarh and would not only
be the trading lifeline for the whole of northeast India, but also
help trade from the southeast Asian countries.
"The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started work to extend
its railway network up to the Sabroom in southern Tripura, 135 km
from Agartala, and Akhaurah in western Tripura, just 6 km from the
Agartala railway station," NFR general manager Keshav Chandra told
Agartala is the newest station of the Indian railways, and came up
on the country's rail map in October 2008.
"Works are now in full-swing to extend railway line from Agartala
to border town Sabroom by 2014," said Chandra, who accompanied by
20 senior officials arrived here from NFR headquarters in Guwahati
and is now on a three-day visit to Tripura.
Bangladesh operates regular train services along the border on its
side up to Akhaurah and various other places, just opposite
several sub-divisional towns in Tripura.
"A team of officials of IRCON (Indian Railway Construction
Company) recently visited Dhaka and held talks with the Bangladesh
government and the railway ministry officials and finalised
alignment of the 13-km Agartala-Akhaurah connecting rail line,"
NFR additional general manager Vipin Jha said.
Subsequently, top officials of the Bangladesh government and the
railway ministry visited Tripura in September and signed an
agreement in this connection.
Of the 13-km link railway line, connecting with the Bangladesh
railway network through Akhaurah railway station, 5.4 km falls in
the Indian territory and the remaining is in Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh had resumed regular train services in April
2008 - after 43 years - through Gede in West Bengal's Nadia
district and Darshana in Bangladesh. The rail journey between
Kolkata and Dhaka covers a distance of 406 km.
The service was suspended after the 1965 war between India and
Pakistan when Bangladesh was then Pakistan's eastern wing.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who visited Tripura last
month, emphatically announced that the country would allow South
Asian nations, including India, access to its Chittagong and
Mongla ports and is keen to revive connectivity in the region.
Earlier, access to these ports was denied to India and a few other
countries due to security concerns raised by some opposition
parties in Bangladesh.
Dhaka and New Delhi signed a bilateral treaty last week to
facilitate the transport of heavy Indian equipment, including
turbines for a power plant being set up by the state-owned Oil and
Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in South Tripura's Palatana.
"The treaty would facilitate Indian cargo to ferry through
waterways up to Ashuganj river port and then by road to Tripura on
very large lorries with long trailers," an ONGC official here
Repair, renovation and improvement works of the Ashuganj port and
road connecting to Tripura would be done at India'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 seven northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh,
Myanmar, Bhutan and China and the only land route to these states
from within India is through Assam. But this route passes through
hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.
"Trade between the two countries has been constrained by the lack
of transhipment facilities. For example, tea from Assam travels
1,400 km to the Kolkata port whereas the distance could be
curtailed by 60 to 70 percent if access to Chittagong and other
Bangladeshi ports are available," said a senior official.
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