Govt moves to expand regional connectivity

In a bid to boost trades, the government is planning to increase road connectivity with neighbouring countries Bhutan, India and Nepal. To this end, the commerce ministry has taken up a project titled ‘Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project-1’ which has been sent to the planning commission for its seal of approval, a senior official told Bangladesh Post.

The project aims at improving infrastructures in bordering areas as four nations Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) agreed on regional multimodal connectivity. The transportation of goods among the four nations would be easier as each country agreed to allow use of each other’s territories for carrying goods.

The project (first amendment) cost amounting to Tk 71.20 crore will come from the government exchequer and World Bank. The WB will provide Tk 66.40 crore while the rest of the fund will come from government. The WTO cell under the commerce ministry will implement the project by December 2021.
‘Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project-1’ will help Bangladesh reduce time and cost on regional trade.

To improve connectivity and trade with India, Bhutan, and Nepal, infrastructures, systems and procedures will be modernised at three key land ports— Bhomra, Sheola and Ramgarh while security will be improved at Benapole land port. Presently, the country has 17 land ports, among them Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) runs 11. The rest are being run by private operators.

 Some of them are not fully functional due to lack of infrastructure. According to the BLPA, the Bhomra port is very close to Kolkata, India. If the facilities of this port are developed properly, businesses of both the countries would benefit at decreased import-export costs.