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Bangladesh: Govt initiates move to develop Tamabil Land PortMonday, September 29, 2014 > 11:37:12
The government has taken the initiative to develop Tamabil Land Port in Sylhet through building necessary infrastructures by creating storage and handling facilities of importable and exportable goods.
The initiative is aimed at expanding trade and commerce among Bangladesh, India and Bhutan through this land port.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a project to this end, titled 'Development of Tamabil Land Port', at a cost of Tk 69.26 crore to be entirely borne from the government exchequer.
Bangladesh Land Port Authority under the Shipping Ministry will implement the project by June 2017.
Talking to UNB, a Planning Ministry official said that Tamabil Customs Station situated at Gowainghat upazila in Sylhet was upgraded in 2001 into a Land Port, 60 kilometers away from Sylhet and 300 kilometers from Dhaka.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is also carrying out works to develop the Indian Dowki Land Custom Station situated at West Khasia district in Meghalaya province opposite to the Tamabil Land Port through declaring it as an Integrated Check Post (ICP).
The planning minister official said that the Tamabil Land Port currently does not have any infrastructures of the Bangladesh Land Port Authority, but there are some offices for conducting customs and immigration activities.
Some 10,000 passengers travel through the Tamabil-Dowki border every year while coal, granite and fruits are mainly being imported through Tamabil Land Port against the exportable items of cosmetics, processed food and bricks.
The official said that the government is losing a huge amount of revenue every year for not having the necessary Land Port facilities especially weigh bridge and weighing scale to determine the right weight of exportable and importable items.
The main activities of the project are acquisition of 10.24 acres of land; 109330 cubic meter land development; 2,500 meter boundary wall construction; 8180 square meter internal road construction; construction of 27,000 square meter open stack yard, 744 square meter warehouse and 1349 square meter office, dormitory and barrack building; procurement of two weigh bridges and two hundred metric ton capacity weighing scales; and construction of five watch towers.
Another official at the Shipping Ministry said that currently through the Tamabil Land Port, the country's trade and commerce activities are operational with the Meghalaya Province of India. Once there is infrastructural development of this Port, Bangladesh's trade and commerce with Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Assam and Bhutan will increase to a large extent.
A joint committee comprising representatives of both India and Bangladesh put forward a recommendation in 2010 to develop five land ports including Tamabil and four Land Customs Stations in India including Dowki after inspecting those.
Besides, the Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Company (IIFC) under the Economic Relations Division (ERD) conducted a feasibility study for the development of Tamabil Land Port in 2005. The feasibility study suggests that the government would get every year some TK 4.86 crore revenue through this port based on the calculation of 2004.
The Pre Evaluation Committee (PEC) meeting on the project was held on May 8, 2014 where the Planning Commission recommended implementation of the project.
Initially, 12 land custom stations in Bangladesh were declared as land ports in 2002. Since 2009 another eight land ports have been declared. Presently, the number of land ports is 20 of which 5 ports are in operation under BOT excepting Birol.
On the other hand, Benapole, Burimari, Akhaura and Bhomra land ports are being operated under Bangladesh Land Port Authority directly. Considering 2007-2008 as base year, import and export through land routes have increased by 55 percent and 67 percent respectively in 2012-13.