New Delhi: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for expediting signing of a bilateral agreement with Bangladesh which will allow the Indian northeastern states’ access to Chattogram and Mongla ports to boost trade in the seven states.
Talks were held to open up these ports for trade from northeastern states and subsequently Bangladesh Cabinet passed a resolution to grant access in September last year. However, a pact is yet to be inked between the two governments.The Indian northeastern states are asking the centre to expedite talks with Bangladesh as it will bring down transportation costs drastically. This will also help trade from the region with other parts of India. Apart from Assam, in Tripura, too, India is building a 15-km long railway line connecting Agartala and Bangladesh’s Akhaura near Chattogram port.
Sonowal also asked the Indian PM to help expedite construction of the Asian Trilateral Highway from Thailand’s Mae Sot to Manipur’s Moreh via Myanmar. He said that it would go a long way in restoring trade links between the northeast states and ASEAN countries and will also give a strong push to the centre’s Act East Policy.
During their meeting, the first one after Modi took over as PM for second time, Sonowal also urged for revival of Flood Management Programme (FMP) and to include ‘river erosion’ in the guidelines of National and State Disaster Response Forces (NDRF/SDRF).
“Sonowal also made it clear that Assam is one of the most disaster-prone states in India. Apart from flood being a major problem, river bank erosion also poses serious damage to the socio-economic scenario of the state,” a release from the office of the chief minister stated.