Natun Sokal Report : The Phulbari checkpost will connect people from Rangpur and Dinajpur districts of Bangladesh; and Jalpaiguri, Cooch Bihar, Darjeeling, Dinajpur districts of Northern West Bengal; and Sikkim and Assam. This immigration checkpost is also a gateway to the North East of India, Nepal and Bhutan.
India’s state minister for external affairs VK Singh said this had been a “longstanding issue which has finally come to fruition”. He inaugurated the border along with Bangladesh’s Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Thursday.
Singh said this checkpost “not only has the potential to increase bilateral trade and commerce but also cement close ties between the people of Northern Bangladesh and Northern West Bengal”. He said this would also contribute to the development of the bordering districts.
He suggested that Bangladeshis explore “the unexplored treasure of great natural beauty and business opportunities” in the north-eastern region of India. Singh said the proximity of this region to Bangladesh makes it also “an ideal location” to invest by taking advantage of its natural resources.
“India and Bangladesh are connected by an emotional bond of language and culture, which goes beyond any formal relationship between governments. “Our people are one, and together we can face the big challenges of this century,” he said.
The potential for taking the current bilateral relationship to new heights and expanding in new directions is “immense”, he said. The opening of this facility is also expected to promote tourism between the two countries.
Last year, about 1.12 million Bangladeshi tourists comprised the second largest number of visitors to India. Besides, a large number of visitors from Bangladesh also go to India for medical treatment, especially to West Bengal. Visitors also travel to India for education, business and conferences. Singh said there was also “a growing interest among Indians to visit Bangladesh for business and tourism purposes”.
West Bengal government’s North Bengal Development Department’s Minister-in-Charge Goutam Deb, Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Department’s Minister-in-Charge Firhad Hakim, and High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla were also present at the inauguration.