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Demand for connectivity via Bangladesh

By Correspondent

SILCHAR, June 18 � Ahead of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj�s visit to Bangladesh, the Bimalangshu Roy Foundation here has sent three specific demands to her, laying stress on how to improve the dilapidated transport condition.

Dr Rajdeep Roy, managing trustee of the foundation said that both geo-politically and strategically, the Barak valley holds a very important position and hence, it cannot remain behind. Roy said efforts should be made to open the Silchar-Kolkata road and rail network, besides augmenting the inland water transport (IWT) system of the Barak valley with Chittagong port in Bangladesh and Haldia port in West Bengal.

Roy said the matter has been brought to the notice of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sarbananda Sonowal as well. While narrating the charter of demands, he said the foundation will appeal to the minister to lay a four-lane or six-lane express highway connecting Silchar with Kolkata through Bangladesh to start a bus service between these two places via the neighbouring country. Also, the foundation will strive for a transit route connecting Chittagong port with Silchar through Sutarkandi.

Further, Roy said that the erstwhile metre gauge line from Mahisason to Shabashpur must be revived and converted into broad gauge. Another erstwhile railway line from Badarpur to Kulaura (Bangladesh) must be revived and subsequently connected to Kolkata via Dhaka. Moreover, a new rail route connecting Silchar-Mahisason/Shabashpur-Chittagong port may well be set up, Roy added.

Regarding the water connectivity from the Barak valley to Chittagong and Haldia ports, Roy said the Bhanga-Lakhipur stretch of the Barak river, which has been declared a National Waterway, must be reactivated and made navigable with a cargo warehouse each at Silchar and Karimganj to facilitate transportation of goods from mainland India and ASEAN nations to other parts of the Northeast. He said the movement of ships will also prevent silting of the river which will help check erosion at many places.

Advocate Shuvadeep Roy, younger brother of Dr Rajdeep Roy, informed that to commemorate the fifth death anniversary of their father Bimalangshu Roy on July 2, the foundation has decided that Dr Roy will be available for free consultation to three patients belonging to the BPL families. He said there will be a free medical camp on June 22 at Kanakpur.

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