Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The government will set up four new land-ports in the country’s northern, eastern and western border areas to facilitate foreign trade with India, officials said.
The land-ports are proposed to be set up at Jibannagar in Kushtia, Mujibnagar in Meherpur, Chilahati in Nilphamari and Teghamuk in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan told the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, that the government would like to set up the new land-ports, as part of an infrastructural development master plan.
The minister also said the Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) has already acquired the land that will be needed for the ports. The BLPA placed the proposal before the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) last year.
The MoS sent a detailed proposal for the purpose to the Indian government last month to get clearance from its counterpart, an official said.
The Ministry earlier got its proposal endorsed by the Law Commission and also obtained the permission from the National Board of Revenue (NBR), according to the officials.
The BLPA expects that if all legal issues are sorted out and approved by the governments of Bangladesh and India, the authority can launch the work for setting up the land-ports by June this year and can complete the same by the next year.
“The preparatory works have already been completed. We can start construction work soon after getting the approval,” BLPA member (development) Tapan Kumar Chakrabarti said.
Currently, the country has 18 land-ports, of which only nine are in full operation. The other nine ports are not fully functional for lack of necessary infrastructure facilities.
The BLPA earlier handed over six land-ports to private operators, in line with the policy-decision of the government.
The government is furthermore considering to privatise three more ports this year under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement for 25 years to give a boost to cross-border trade.
BBN/SSR/AD-23Mar13-9:17 am (BST)