To boost economic ties between India and Bangladesh road connectivity between Kolkata and landlocked Agartala, capital of Tripura, via Dhaka is likely to become a reality soon.
Taking a cue from the growing bonhomie between the two countries, the road transport ministry is finalising the agreement, which will allow movement of private vehicles, passenger and freight traffic between the two state capitals via Dhaka.
The move will also improve trade and economy of the north-eastern state. Agartala is just 350 km from Kolkata via Dhaka, but currently due to the absence of a direct road link between the two state capitals via Dhaka, the region has to depend on the long road and rail link to Agartala via Guwahati. The distance from Kolkata to Agartala via this route is around 1,650 km.
“We are finalising the draft protocol which will allow thorough movement of passenger and freight traffic between the two state capitals via Dhaka. A meeting with Bangladesh transport department officials has been called next month to thrash out the modalities,” road secretary AK Upadhyay told HT.
The road ministry on Monday had held a meeting to finalise the routes. Besides linking Kolkata and Agartala, the ministry also proposes to link other north-eastern states including Meghalaya, Guwahati and Mizoram to Dhaka.
The move to expedite the road connectivity project comes within a year of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka last September. Singh had then emphasised the need for close engagement between Bangladesh and the north-eastern states to give fillip to the economy in the two regions.
The ministry was made the nodal agency to draft the protocol, which includes details on customs, immigration and permits.