Agartala: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for the construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Akhaurah in Tripura along the border that is aimed at helping boost trade with Bangladesh and facilitate trans-border passenger traffic.
"The setting up of 13 internationally standard ICPs along India`s border with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal is a major initiative, which the central government has taken as part of an 11th Plan scheme with an initial outlay of Rs 635 crore," border management secretary AE Ahmed said.
The estimated cost of Akhaurah ICP project, fourth in the series, is Rs 73.50 crore and the project is likely to be completed by July 2012. The Akhaurah India-Bangladesh check post is just two km west of Agartala city.
The Akhaurah check post is one of the most important international trading land ports in eastern India, after the Petrapole check post in West Bengal, with an average of 200 Bangladeshi trucks loaded with goods for export coming to Tripura every day.
At the foundation stone-laying ceremony, Ahmed said: "The department of border management under the union home ministry has finalised the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for all the 13 ICPs - to be initially set up on the borders between India and Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar."
The construction work of ICPs at Attari (in Punjab) on the Indo-Pakistan border, Raxaul and Jogbani (both in Bihar) on the Indo-Nepal border has already started and would be completed by August this year.
"The ICPs are envisaged to overcome the infrastructural bottlenecks at the various entry and exit points on the land borders of India. They are expected to provide facilities for the effective and efficient discharge of sovereign functions such as security, immigration, customs, quarantine while also providing support facilities for smooth cross-border movement of people, goods and transport," the official added.
He said that a Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) has been constituted in September last year and would be functional very shortly. "This body would be vested with powers on the lines of similar bodies like the Airports Authority of India."
LPAI has been envisaged as a statutory body for the planning, construction, maintenance and management of ICPs, which would be very user friendly to facilitate cross border business.
"The ICPs would not only boost trade and business with the neighbouring countries, would also contribute local employment and widen the business opportunities along both sides of the border," Ahmed said.
Besides passenger terminal buildings, adequate customs and immigration facilities, weigh bridges, security and scanning equipment, currency exchange booths, internet facility, cargo process building, cargo inspection sheds, warehouse and cold storage, health and quarantine facilities, clearing agents, banks, scanners, close circuit television, public address systems, isolation bay, parking, cafeteria, hotels and other public utilities would be available at the ICPs.
India shares a 4,097 km border with Bangladesh, 3,323 km with Pakistan, 1,751 km with Nepal and 1,643 km with Myanmar.