Petrapole(Indo-Bangla border), Jun 19 (UNI) The Centre would spend Rs 800 crores in three years for improving 13 Land Customs Stations(LCS) with neighbouring countries and plans to set up the Land Customs Port Authority of India to manage the border trading centres.
Union minister of state for commerce Jayram Ramesh, who led a high-level delegation to find ways to improve infrastructural facilities here today, said the development work would be taken up in eight border trading centres with Bangladesh, one with Pakistan and four with Nepal.The proposals would be taken up for cabinet approval, he said.
Meanwhile, he said the Centre is planning to develop the Settwe port by making the Kaladan river navigable in Myanmar at a cost of 103 million dollars in three years to make it an alternative access point to the north east bypassing Bangladesh.
The new port at Myanmar would enable direct connectivity between Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata to Mizoram, he said.
He announced that as part of a major concession to boost import of Bangladeshi goods to India, the Centre is planning to charge zero per cent import duty on 4200 items from 2008.
Mr Ramesh said the concession is being taken over and above the concession as per the SAFTA, which would reduce the import duty to 5 per cent by 2010.
He said the concessions would be introduced despite lack of reciprocation from Bangladesh.
He also expressed disappointment over the lack of progress of the propsed Tata project involving 3 billion dollars in Bangladesh.
Stressing on the need for developing Petrapole as a multi-modal hub for increasing trade with Bangladesh, Mr Ramesh said his ministry has asked RITES to rework its feasibility study for a modern land customs port at Petrapole with Rs 80 crore and the Detailed Project Report for the master plan for Petrapole would be funded by the ministry.
He said he had spoken to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for construction of a bypass at Bongaon under the National Highway Development programme in the next two years.
He said he would propose construction of an expressway between Kolkata and Petrapole during his talks with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee tomorrow. Meanwhile, he said he had asked the Central Warehousing Corporation to take control of the truck terminal at Kalitola to ease the congesion at Bongaon.UNI TJP RD 1945