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New land port opens in Bangladesh

By The Assam Tribune

DHAKA, Aug 13 (IANS) - Bangladesh Friday opened a new land port at Akhaura in Brahmanbaria district that helps it connect with India's north-eastern Agartala city.

With the ceremonial opening of the new port, Bangladesh has 14 land ports that ensure better connectivity with India with which it has 4,300 km land border.

Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan are currently working out mutually beneficial arrangements under which Bangladesh will have, and provide, access to the three South Asian neighbours for trade, transit and communication.

All of them would get access to the Bangladesh's sea ports at Chittagong and Mangla.

India is to facilitate rail and road transit to and from Bangladesh to Bhutan and Nepal.

Together, they form part of the proposed UN-sponsored Trans-Asian highway and rail network.

The Akhaura land port has warehouses, an office complex, open yard and truck parking yard. It has been constructed over 15 acres of land at a cost of Tk 87.5 million ($1.2 million). Agartala is barely 49 kms from Akhaura.

At least 10 trucks would be able to carry goods to within 250 yards of the zero point of the border connecting the port with Agartala, New Age newspaper said.

Through this land port, the country would export fish, cement, furniture, glass sheet, plastic goods, soya oil and tiles. Local traders, on the other hand, would import bamboo, turmeric, watches, ginger, marble slap, fish, leather, textile parts and fruits from India.

Another project, Ashuganj transshipment port, will also help connect Bangladesh with India.

A Bangladesh shipping ministry official said that work will begin next January and complete by 2013 at an estimated cost of Taka 2.5 billion ($3.5 million), The Daily Star reported.

India has for decades sought permission to use Ashuganj for transshipment.

Ashuganj, located in the Brahmanbaria district of Chittagong division, will become the port of call for consignment bound for its Palatana power project in Tripura.

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