Bangladesh is keen on increasing the volume of trade with the Northeast through border trade points and river ports. A high-powered delegation led by Bangladesh commerce minister Muhammad Faruk Khan conveyed this to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday.
“The trade centres along the India-Bangladesh border are picking up. But the volume of trade can be increased to a great extent through the river ports. It is the cheapest mode of communication that will benefit both countries in a big way,” Khan told Gogoi at the latter’s office.
He urged the chief minister to push New Delhi for removal of little impediments in the way of increasing trade and commerce through river transport. He added: “Assam will get access to Haldia in West Bengal and Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh and it will contribute to the economic growth of the state and the region as a whole.”
Khan apprised Gogoi about the steps initiated by Dhaka to strengthen infrastructure in terms of roads and ports that could be made good use of by the northeastern states sharing borders with Bangladesh.
“We also need to optimize resources for the benefit of both countries. Ever since (Bangladesh premier) Sheikh Hasina’s high level talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last year, things are moving in the right direction. What we need to work upon at the bureaucratic level is to remove whatever little barriers that exist,” he said.
Gogoi, thanking the Bangladesh delegation for its efforts to boost bilateral trade, said that the Assam government has opened up border trade centres at Sutarkandi and Mankachar while the third at Golokganj would be ready in six months. “We have taken steps to build the infrastructure that is required to facilitate trade and commerce with Bangaldesh. We too want Bangaldesh to take similar steps in the coming days,” he added.
The Bangladesh delegation comprised high commissioner of Bangladesh to India Tariq A. Karim, director general (Export Promotion Bureau) Rakhal Chandra Burman and commercial counselor (Bangladesh High Commission, New Delhi) Md. Habibur Rahman Khan.