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6 December, 2020 12:15:35 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 December, 2020 08:54:08 AM
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Bangladesh-Myanmar land port on cards

Army begins border road construction in CHT
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, back from Thanchi, Bandarban
Bangladesh-Myanmar land port on cards

As part of ensuring development of the Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHT), the government has planned to set up a land port at Ghungdoom of Naikhongchhari in Bandarban on Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

Meanwhile, for tackling cross-border terrorism at the borders among Bangladesh Myanmar and India, the government has started construction a 1,036km-long ‘Border Road’ along the three hilly districts — Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.

The 34 BGB officials said that government has constructed an international route named ‘Asian Highway’ from Cox’s Bazar to Ghungdoom border for helping to set up the proposed land port at the border.

For the same purpose, the government has planned to construct a railway line to Ghungdoom border for ensuring trade and increasing ‘people to people’ relations between the countries.

Commanding Officer (CO) of 34 BGB Lt. Col. Ali Haider Azad told The Independent that it will possible to do legal trading between the neighbours — Bangladesh and Myanmar — if a land port is set up at Ghungdoom area.

“Once upon a time, businessmen of both countries were using the frontier for trading, now suspended on security reason after the Rohingya influx to Cox’s Bazar,” he said. 

“There was a corridor at the Ghungdoom area and a number of bordering people of the countries were moved through the border to meet up their relatives at the countries concerned. After Rohingya influx following the ethnic cleansing by Myanmar army, the authorities also closed the corridor,” he informed.

 “It will help to raise bilateral relation between the countries after setting a land port in the area,” he said and adding that it will also help to boom tourism sector of the countries also.

The BGB officer also informed that the authorities concerned have completed ‘Asian Highway’ in Bangladesh side but the counterpart is yet to start construction of the road in their territory. And that’s why, the delay in set uping the land port is caused, he added. 

“The port requires construction of a bridge in the Myanmar territory, but they are yet to construct it. Bangladesh had proposed the Myanmar authorities to construct the bridge, but they are taking time to respond to our proposal on the matter,” he noted.

“It will facilitate visit to China through Myanmar from Bangladesh once the Asian Highway on Myanmar side is commissioned. Though, still then it depends upon the decision of Myanmar government,” he opined.

About the border road, the paramilitary officer said that the security of the border areas would be ensured after construction of the border road though it will take a decade to be complete.

Mohammed Daudul Islam, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bandarban told The Independent that former shipping minister Sajahan Khan had visited the sport of Naikhongchari in 2019 to see the feasibility of land port in the area.

“But, no development in this regard is yet to be known,” he said.

“It is the matter of the decision of the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar. It would be possible to set up a land port here if the Myanmar authorities are agreed on the matter,” he added.

Chairman of Bangladesh Land Port Authority K.M. Tariqul Islam told The Independent that it will be an export oriented land port at the Bangladesh Myanmar border if it is set up at the Ghungdoom area.

“We will be able to import essential commodities like wood, fish, dry fish and betel nut from Myanmar. And Bangladesh can export many Bangladeshi products like medicine through the proposed land port,” he said.

The land port chairman informed that they will try to discuss the issue in the upcoming bilateral talks at the ministry of foreign affairs which will begin on December 22-24 this year. Commercial attaché of Myanmar embassy in Dhaka will join the talks, he informed.

He also informed that there are so many people in the bordering areas of both countries those, who have relatives in the neighbors and frequently they are using the borders now illegally for socializing with their relatives. 

Meanwhile, the Engineering Construction Battalion (ECB) of Bangladesh Army has started constructing 317km road out of 1036km border road through the three hilly districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.

Of the 317km border road, 40km will be constructed on the Ukhia-Ashartoli-Fooltuli route, 52km on Sajek-Shildah-Betling, 95km on Sajek-Dokanghat-Thegamukh, and 130km on Thegamukh-Loitongpara-Thanchi-Dumdumia-Rajsthali route.

Talking to this correspondent, a senior officer of Bangladesh Army said that the three hilly district are sharing 144km of its border with Myanmar and 46km with India. Of the total border areas, about 28km is totally unguarded. 

“After construction of the border road, it will possible to contain cross-border terrorism by patrolling the porous border in the remote hilly areas,” he said.
“It will take 10 years to complete the construction works of the border road,” he added.

The construction of the border road will not only expand trade and commerce, develop tourism facilities in hilly areas but also generate local employment in the hills, the officer claimed.

In March 2018, The National Economic Council Executive Committee (Ecnec) had approved a plan to build 317km border road in the hills aiming to fight against drug, weapon smuggling, human trafficking, infiltration and to boost trade and tourism.

 

SI

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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