Agartala: Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday urged the business community of Bangladesh to invest in Tripura as the state is all set to become a trade corridor for the entire Northeast region.

Deb was speaking at the inaugural function of the second edition of the Bangladesh Film Festival here.

The chief minister said Maitri Setu’ (Friendship Bridge) on the Feni river in south Tripura was virtually inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in March last year.

Speaking on the importance of the 1.9-km-long bride on the Feni that demarcates the international boundary between India and Bangladesh, PM Modi had said the opening of the bridge would also benefit south Assam, Manipur and Mizoram and at the same time create opportunities in Bangladesh.

The bridge which joins Sabroom in Tripura with Ramgarh in Bangladesh is the fastest land route to connect the landlocked Northeast region via Sabroom to Chittagong port.

Chittagong port in the neighbouring country is just 100 km from Agartala.

The trade volume will be increased manifold when Chittagong port is eventually opened for the state. The Centre has already sanctioned funds to build a 36- km road in Bangladesh’s Ramgarh to connect Chittagong with Maitri Setu’. When the road is made operational, a lorry will travel only 72 km to reach Chittagong from Sabroom, he pointed out.

Now, it takes a lorry to travel around 1,600 km from Haldia port in West Bengal to Agartala via Assam.

Both sides will immensely benefit from the direct connectivity between Chittagong and Sabroom. It will boost trade and commerce also, he said.

Highlighting that infrastructure works have already been undertaken in the state, the chief minister said Integrated Check Post, Special Economic Zone and railway yard are coming up at Sabroom.

If businessmen set up garment units at the proposed SEZ, they don’t need to pay customs duty, instead they will receive a subsidy. The state has already declared a roadmap for the next 25 years. Look at the roadmap and take a decision on the potential sector for investment , Deb said.

Pointing out that India’s full support to people of the then East Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war was justified, the chief minister said, India did not favour by standing behind the people of erstwhile East Pakistan. It was India’s duty to liberate the next-door neighbour from oppressive rule.

Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry of the neighbouring country Md. Mokbul Hussain and Tripura Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Sushanta Chowdhury also attended the programme.

Eastern India and Bangladesh will benefit due to better understanding as the bilateral relationship between the two sides has reached new heights under the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India , Dr Hasan Mahmud said after inaugurating the film festival.

Acknowledging Tripura’s role in the Bangladesh Liberation War, Dr Hasan Mahmud said, We have not forgotten that around one crore oppressed Bangladeshi people had taken shelter in Tripura. People of this state had rendered all possible assistance to our uprooted people during those difficult days.

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