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Meet on land custom station

Agartala, Oct. 14: Home secretaries of India and Bangladesh will visit the land custom station at Akhaura checkpost, 3km west of Agartala town, tomorrow to monitor progress made in upgrade of the station and sort out other issues of bilateral concern.

In order to initiate bilateral discussions, India’s home secretary R.K. Singh this morning reached Dhaka as the head of a team of officials comprising representatives from ministry of external affairs, Narcotics Control Board and the BSF .

His counterpart, C.Q.K. Mustaq Ahmed, is being assisted by senior officials of Bangladesh’s external affairs ministry, Border Guard Bangladesh and drugs control authority in the bilateral discussion that took place shortly after the Indian delegation’s arrival.

Official sources said Bangladesh was upset over smuggling of drugs, including contraband cough syrups with high alcohol content, across the border despite earlier agreements signed with India to check it.

“Apart from this, matters related to better road connectivity between the two countries, signing of an extradition treaty, higher volume of bilateral trade, including opening of border markets, and extradition of Ulfa leader Anup Chetia who is still in Bangladesh jail, will be discussed,” a source said.

They added the Indian and Bangladeshi delegations would arrive at Akhaura checkpost by a helicopter from Dhaka and return after holding discussions at the checkpost.

The fast-tracking of the work on upgrade of land custom stations on the Indian side will also be discussed because of tardy progress.

On May 17 last year then Union home minister P. Chidambaram inaugurated the work on upgrade of Akhaura land custom station and the target date for finishing the work was declared to be one year.

Though more than a year has already passed, only 25 per cent of work has been completed.

The sources said the upgrade of three other custom stations on the side of Tripura at Srimantapur in Sipahijala district, Kamalpur in Dhalai district and Raghna in North Tripura district has not made any progress.


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