GUWAHATI, Feb 5 � A high-powered Bangladesh delegation led by Muhammad Faruk Khan, Minister of Commerce called on Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at the latter�s official chamber here today, an official release said.
The Commerce Minister told the Chief Minister that Bangladesh is very keen to step up the volume of trade through the trade centres on the Indo-Bangla border and through the river ports. �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 the countries in a big way,� he said. He urged the Chief Minister to take up the matter with Government of India to remove the little impediments that stand in the way to pave the way for trade and commerce through river transport. �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,� he said.
Faruk apprised the Chief Minister about the steps initiated by the Bangladesh Government to strengthen infrastructure in terms of roads and ports that could be made good use of by the North Eastern States sharing borders with Bangladesh.
Faruk also stressed on the need to make optimum utilisation of resources for the benefit of both the countries. �Ever since Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina�s high level talks with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last year, things are moving in the right direction. Where there is the political will there is the way. What we need to work upon at the bureaucratic level is to remove whatever little barriers that exist and to make full use of our rich resources for the overall benefit of peoples of both the countries,� he said.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while thanking the Bangladesh delegation for its efforts to strengthen ties with States of the region bordering Bangladesh, said that the State Government has opened up border trade centres at Sutarkandi, Mankachar and the third one at Golokganj would be ready in six months time to facilitate increased trade and commerce with Bangladesh. �We have taken steps to build the infrastructure that is required to facilitate trade and commerce with Bangladesh. We too want Bangladesh to take similar steps in the coming days,� he said.
Echoing the sentiments of the High Commissioner, Gogoi said, �River connectivity is a must. For this the ports have to be utilized for increasing the volume of trade and commerce,� he said.
The Chief Minister underscored the need for people to people contact to further strengthen the ties between both the countries.
Expressing his gratefulness to Bangladesh for its strong action in flushing out the extremists from its soil, Gogoi said, �It has helped the State to create a peaceful atmosphere.�
The delegation invited the Chief Minister to Bangladesh for rekindling the ties between the peoples of both the countries.