Indo-Bangla trade ports to be upgraded

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Bangaon, Dec 11 (UNI) The Centre has taken the initiative to upgrade infrastructure of seven land ports, especially the Petrapol-Benapol corridor, which are presently being utilised for Indo-Bangla trade.

Visiting Joint Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce at the Centre Rajib Kher today said here, ''The first phase of the project will be taken up within the next three years from Petrapol, with a detailed plan that is yet to be drawn.

''We are considering the possibility of improving infrastructure of Ghoja Danga border with Bangladesh near Basirhat in North 24 Parganas, so that the work load of Petrapol Border could be diverted to it,'' Mr Kher said.

Mr Kher, along with Director of the ministry Rajiv Kumar today took stock of the prevalant situation and infrastructure, under which trading with Bangladesh was being continued.

Mr Kher said the new plan envisaged constructing integrated checkposts for customs and immigration departments under same roof.

A customs official here said the Petrapol border earns import duty to the extent of Rs 40 crore annually.

With the perspective of foreign trade, the Centre has decided to resolve the shortcomings for the interim period to see that works were running smoothly till the new project come up, Mr Kher said.

A total of 13 land ports in the country were being developed with the neighbouring countries under the current project, including four with Nepal and one each with Burma and Pakistan.

Hilli, Petrapol, Changrabandha, Agartala, Dawki, Demagiri and Suterkandi corridors are among the ports chosen for the current project.

UNI

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