"The multi-purpose ICPs would boost trade with the neighbouring countries, besides facilitating trans-border passenger traffic," an official of the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) told IANS.
The official, seeking anonymity, said: "Trade between India and Pakistan through ICP at Attari increased a lot after it was inaugurated by then union Home Minister P. Chidambaram (now union finance minister)."
"Similarly the trade and movement of people between the Bangladesh and northeastern states would be increased to a large extent after the opening of the Akhaurah ICP in November. This is first of its kind with Bangladesh," he said.
Built at a cost of Rs.73.50 crore, the Akhaurah ICP project had its foundation stone laid by Chidambaram in May 2011.
Dealing with around 4,500 people per month legally travelling between the two countries, Akhaurah land customs station is the second biggest land port along the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh border after Petrapole-Benapole check post in West Bengal.
The Akhaurah check post is one of the most important international trading land ports in eastern India, with an average of 200 Bangladeshi trucks loaded with goods entering Tripura every day.
A high level 18-member inter-ministerial team led by Gouri Kumar, secretary, border management Wednesday inspected the ongoing works of the Akhaurah ICP, two km west of the heart of Agartala city
The official team, which included Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran, LPAI chairman Y.S. Shahrawat and senior officials from ministries of external, home affairs, railways, foreign trade, road transport and highways, immigration and Border Security Force, has Thursday visited the under-construction ICP at the Petrapole-Benapole check post.
"In the first phase, seven ICPs are being set up at Raxaul and Jogbani (in Bihar) along the border with Nepal, Attari (in Punjab) along the border with Pakistan, Moreh (in Manipur) along the border with Myanmar and Akhaurah (in Tripura), Dawki (in Meghalaya) and Petrapole (in West Bengal) - all along the border with Bangladesh," an official report of the union home ministry said.
The report said: "The ICPs are being commissioned "to secure India's borders against interests hostile to the country and to put in place systems that would interdict such elements while facilitating legitimate trade and commerce and as a part of an overall strategy for more improved border management."
The ICPs, being built at expenditure ranging from Rs.35 crore to Rs.170 crore - with a total outlay of Rs.635 crore - would be sanitised zones with dedicated passenger and cargo terminals and space for regulatory agencies besides the necessary modern facilities under one roof.
"The setting up of 13 ICPs along India's international border is a major initiative which the centre has undertaken as part of a scheme envisaged during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) at a cost of Rs.635 crore," the home ministry report added.
Besides passenger terminal buildings, adequate customs and immigration facilities, weigh bridges, security and scanning equipment, currency exchange booths, internet facility, cargo process building, cargo inspection sheds, warehouse and cold storage, health and quarantine facilities, clearing agents, banks, scanners, close circuit television, public address systems, isolation bay, parking, cafeteria, hotels and other public utilities would be available at the ICPs.
India shares a 4,096 km border with Bangladesh, 3,323 km with Pakistan, 1,751 km with Nepal and 1,643 km with Myanmar.
Like the Airports Authority of India, the government, in 2010, had set up the LPAI to supervise the construction work, maintenance and control of the ICPs
--IANS (Posted on 12-09-2013)