Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday said the use of Chittagong port in Bangladesh and waterways will immensely help both his state and that country.
Tripura's development cannot be achieved without the support of Bangladesh, Deb said while addressing the India- Bangladesh Stakeholders' Meet here.
"Currently, our nearest port is Haldia (in West Bengal) which is 1,200 kilometres away from Guwahati. However, the distance between Guwahati and Chittagong port via Tripura is just 620 kilometres. Once we use that, the transportation cost will be reduced by half," he said.
The chief minister stressed on maximum use of waterways to reduce cost and said by this way, Bangladesh will be the biggest beneficiary.
Deb said better connectivity between North East and the neighbouring country is essential for the development of the entire region.
"Without Bangladesh, I cannot develop Tripura. The state shares 80 per cent of its border with Bangladesh. We (Tripura) share only a little portion of our border with Assam and Mizoram," he added.
The recent MoUs signed between India and Bangladesh in the presence of the two prime ministers will benefit the North East immensely and Tripura the most, Deb asserted.
"North East is a very large area with very less population... of about 4 crores only. It is rich in minerals, greeneries and many tourist destinations. India's economy can now be developed by the North East," he added.
States like Gujarat and Maharashtra have already got enough exposure and the next development destination should be the North East, Deb said.
He also demanded uniform law for trade across the country.
"For example, if Petrapole-Benapole (West Bengal- Bangladesh border) can be used for trade and commerce, why not Tripura or other North Eastern states that share maximum of Bangladesh's border," he added.
Addressing the meet, Mizoram Commerce and Industries Minister R Lalthangliana said business between the North Eastern region and Bangladesh is at a very minimal level due to lack of proper infrastructure.
Addressing the India-Bangladesh Stakeholders' Meet here, Lalthangliana said "There is a lack of infrastructure on both sides. Due to it, formal trade is not happening. But informal trade is going on."
He said Mizoram is working on developing border infrastructure, including a bridge over Thega river that would be completed soon, for the last mile connectivity to remote areas.
"We are working to have integrated customs point. We were also developing four border haats with Bangladesh." Lalthangliana said.
However, it was found that there are no proper roads to the final point (haats) and the project will be taken up again after the infrastructure is put in place, Lalthangliana said.