''There is a long-standing demand from the trade groups of both the countries regarding poor infrastructure which is believed to be the reason for the declining trend in bilateral trade but now both the governments want to upgrade it,'' Mr Delala said. He said the problems included scarcity of land at the Zero point, non-existence of plant-quarantine office, pre-shiftment office and weigh bridge, besides poor road connectivity and logistics. He added that of the total 32 Land Customs Stations (LCS) along the Indo-Bangla border, only six land-ports are presently functioning well and Indian authorities wanted to install all required facilities in inoperative LCS.
Mr Delala also opined that improved Indo-Bangladesh trade relations could help the Chittagong port emerge as the Hong Kong of South Asia and India had been consciously doing all it could to promote regional cooperation on different matters.
Meanwhile, Tripura Chamber of Commerce (TCC) president M L Debnath stated that after erection of barbed wire fencing along the Indo-Bangla border, the importance of land-ports had increased manyfold. Almost all the land ports in the Indo-Bangla border had remained underdeveloped due to lack of proper initiatives on the part of both the governments.
Exporters and importers had been using the Benapole land-port in West Bengal despite the huge potential of such ports in the Northeastern states, Mr Debnath added.