Guwahati, Saturday, April 10, 2010
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‘Bangla willing to connect NE and rest of India’

 SHILLONG, April 9 – Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Tariq A Karim today said his country was “ready and willing” to reconnect the States of North East to rest of India and also enable Nepal and Bhutan to gain access to sea.

Reflecting Bangladesh’s eagerness to serve as a “natural hub of regional linkages,” Karim said, “we are ready and willing to help to reconnect not only the States of the North East to the rest of India but also enable Nepal and Bhutan to gain access to the sea.”

Emphasising on reconnecting the old riverine routes, he said addition of the Ashuganj (Bangladesh) and Silghat (India) meant that goods destined for the North East and beyond will be able to reach their destination much more quickly.

Stating that Bangladesh has allowed India, Nepal and Bhutan to use the Mongla and Chittagong ports, he committed that his country was seriously engaged in reopening the old rail links in the region.

“Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh decided to make Rohanpur-Singabad broad gauge railway link available for transit to Nepal and to the conversion of Radhikapur-Birol railway line into broad-gauge to facilitate trade and connectivity with Bhutan. We are also examining setting up of a railway link between Akhaura and Agartala,” he told a seminar on ‘From Land Locked to Land Linked: Northeast India in BIMSTEC’ here.

In terms of extending land connectivity, he said, “we could also consider the possibility of extending the existing Dhaka-Kolkata and Dhaka-Agartala Bus routes to Shillong and Guwahati.”

He said Bangladesh was vigorously pursuing the possibility of establishing new air routes from North East to Dhaka and beyond.

“Many new Land Customs Stations like Nakugaon-Dalu, Meghalaya-Mymensingh (both in Meghalaya border) and Sabroom-Ramgarh in Tripura border are under active consideration of both the governments,” Karim said, underscoring the need for infrastructure development on both sides. – PTI

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