GUWAHATI, Aug 22 � Reopening of the transit routes through Bangladesh will give a big boost to the economy of Assam, said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Gogoi, who is scheduled to accompany Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during the latter�s visit to Dhaka in the first week of next month, said that the reopening of the old road and rail links as well as the waterways would be of great help to Assam and other parts of the North East.
Gogoi said that the State Government has also been requesting the Government of India to take up the issue with Bangladesh for the economic development of Assam and other parts of the region and these issues are likely to be taken up by the Prime Minister during his visit to Dhaka.
The Chief Minister pointed out that there is a possibility of settlement of the border disputes with Bangladesh during the Prime Minister�s visit and if that happens, India would be able to complete the fencing along the international border, which , in turn, would help in checking infiltration of foreign nationals. He also said that the Government of Bangladesh has already agreed in principle to allow use to Chittagong Port to India and if that is finalized during the visit of the Prime Minister, the entire region would be immensely benefitted.
Gogoi said that he was quite optimistic of success of the visit of the Prime Minister and if every issue can be dealt with as per plan, the economy of Assam would witness a major change in the days to come.
The Chief Minister pointed out that over the years, communication bottleneck was one of the worst problems faced by Assam and other parts of the region but reopening of the communication channels through Bangladesh would be able to change that.
Gogoi further pointed out that there is ample scope for development of trade and commerce with Bangladesh for the economic development of the region. He revealed that he had two rounds of talks with the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India in this regard and �I found that the Government of Bangladesh is also very keen on improving trade ties.�
The Chief Minister pointed out that it is perhaps for the first time that the Chief Ministers of the states having border with Bangladesh have been invited to join the Prime Minister on such an official visit, which is a very positive development. �This will give us an opportunity to meet people in Bangladesh to know about their views and take effective steps for the development of mutual understanding and trade ties,� he added.
Replying to a question on whether the issue of handing over of ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia would be discussed during the Prime Minister�s visit, Gogoi said that the Government of India has already taken up the issue with Bangladesh. However, he said that he was not aware of the latest developments in this regard.