April 21, 2024, 9:27 pm

Export to India thru’ Akhaura awaiting a four-lane boost

  • Update Time : Friday, September 9, 2022
  • 126 Time View

Staff Correspondent: Bangladeshi exports through the Akhaura land port to the northeastern states of India will rise substantially once the Ashuganj-Akhaura four-lane highway project is completed, said local businessmen.

The 51-kilometre road patch connects the Ashuganj river port to the Akhaura land port in Brahmanbaria district.

Businessmen there said now it takes up to two hours to transport goods from Ashuganj to the land port. But once the highway is completed in 2025, the travel time will be reduced to only half an hour while the transportation cost will also drop significantly.

According to them, there is a good demand for various Bangladeshi products such as fish, dried fish, plastic items, furniture and poultry feed in the northeastern states of India, known as the Seven Sisters.

Currently, products worth $0.1 million are exported to India every day through Akhaura land port.

The highway would increase the export volume of these products into that region, they added.

Shafiqul Islam, general secretary of Akhaura Land Port Importer-Exporter Association, said, “Vehicles loaded with export products from different parts of the country come to the port. The highway would save a lot of time and transportation costs. The increased export-import activities in the land port would create more jobs and increase revenue collection of the government.”

Rajib Bhuiyan, proprietor of Shoeb Trade International in Akhaura land port, said, “At present, the amount of export through the land port has declined due to the rise in dollar prices against taka and Indian rupee. But if the dollar crisis ends and the four-lane highway opens, the amount of exports to India will increase further.”

Business leaders urged the government to establish an economic zone in Brahmanbaria as the highway will ease the communication system within the region once completed.

Azizul Haque, president of Brahmanbaria Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said, “If the demand for Bangladeshi products in the northeastern states of India can be utilised, exports will increase to a large extent. Besides, if an economic zone can be established in Brahmanbaria, it would transform the economic landscape of this region.”

In 2017, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the road project at Tk5,791 crore. But the cost later edged up to Tk5,791 crore, while the deadline also got extended by three times to June 2025.

Indian construction company Afcons Infrastructure is implementing the highway project.

The authorities said the construction was delayed owing to land acquisition delay and subsequently by the pandemic. Latest price hikes of construction materials have also weighed on the four-lane road work.

“More than 30% of the project work has already been done. We are trying to complete the project within the stipulated time,” Md Khaled Rashid, additional project director of Ashuganj River Port-Akhaura Land Port Four-Lane Highway Project said.

 

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