Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually dedicating the Maitri Setu from New Delhi as Tripura Governor Ramesh Bais, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and his Cabinet colleagues remain in attendance at the Vivekananda Stadium in Agartala on Tuesday. – Photo: Correspondent
AGARTALA, March 9: Scripting a new era in cross-border connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, today dedicated the Maitri Setu to the people of the North East through video conferencing.
With today’s development, Tripura is now directly connected with the Chittagong port in Bangladesh through Ramgarh.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the Maitri Setu in the Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura would further strengthen bilateral ties between North East India and Bangladesh.
With the Maitri Setu coming up, Sabroom will be developed into a logistics hub between the two sides as the foundation stone of an integrated check post (ICP) has already been laid, Modi said after dedicating the strategic bridge.
The Prime Minister added: “During the electioneering in 2018, I had promised to provide HIRA (highways/i-wayrRailway/airways). In the past three years, Tripura has witnessed massive development in connectivity due to the double governments in New Delhi and Agartala.”
North East India is now directly linked to the Chittagong port thorugh Ramgarh in Bangladesh, Modi said, adding that this would increase economic activities in both countries. Apart from Tripura, South Assam, Mizoram and Manipur will benefit from the bridge as far as supply of essential items is concerned.
Modi revealed that both India and Bangladesh are working on an alternative waterway to ensure supply to North East India during the monsoon. “During my visit to Bangladesh, I had a word with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about creating an alternative waterway for North East India. The people of the region will soon have supplementary waterway connectivity,” he added.
In her video message, the Bangladesh Premier said that the opening of the Maitri Setu is a landmark day for bilateral business, trade and economy. “The bridge came up at a time when Bangladesh is celebrating the centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibor Rahman and the golden jubilee of its Independence,” she said.
Mentioning former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar who had put a proposal seeking support to build a bridge over River Feni, Hasina said: “We have responded positively. After 10 years, the Maitri Bridge has become a reality. It will be beneficial for North East India as Tripura is less than 100 km away from the sea port of Chittagong. At present, the North East’s nearest sea port is Haldia whose distance is about 1,600 km. We are working on improving cross-border connectivity for seamless trade and business with neighbouring countries,” she said.
Asserting that politics should not become a physical barrier for business and trade, Hasina said Bangladesh has done well in the textiles industries and become a business leader in South Asia.
Hasia added, “We do not forget Tripura’s contribution to our freedom struggle. You people opened the border, offered shelter and gave support during the liberation war. Bangladesh will never forget this.”
Tripura Governor Ramesh Bais, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and Revenue Minister NC Debbarma witnessed the dedication ceremony from the Vivekananda Stadium here.