Tripura seeks access to Bangladesh port for transporting essential commodities
The Government of Tripura has sought access to Ashuganj Port in Bangladesh for transportation of essential commodities to the state from the neighbouring country, following the suspension of railway services to the state.
Owing to its landlocked nature and hilly terrain, the northeastern region often faces problems in the supply of food and other essential commodities.
The government has been trying to coordinate with Bangladesh, which shares a long boundary with Tripura, to make use of its territory for the conveyance of goods to Tripura as well as other northeastern states.
The Tripura Government recently approached the Union Ministry of External Affairs to request the Bangladesh Government to provide access to its Ashuganj port in order to transport essential commodities, especially food grains to the state.
This move was initiated after the railways announced suspension of train services to Agartala because of gauge-conversion work.
The disruption in railway connectivity for 6 months will put immense pressure on the NH 44 connecting Assam and Agartala, making movement of essential goods difficult.
" We are taking steps to build up a buffer stock so that during these 6 months, there is no shortage of essential commodities. But, still, there will be some gaps. So, those gaps can be filled up if food grains and other essential commodities can come through Bangladesh. Ashuganj will be of great help," said Kishore Ambuly, Transport Secretary, Tripura.
Last year, the Bangladesh Government had agreed to allow the transit of 10,000 tonnes of food grains for Tripura via its territory.
While the people of the region are going to be benefitted by a better supply of food and essential goods, this move will also cut down on the transportation cost as the distance gets reduced.
Tripura has also been demanding access to Chittagong Port and a direct bus service from Agartala to Kolkata.
(Posted on 03-05-2014)