Dawki integrated checkpost to boost trade

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju today laid the foundation stone of an integrated checkpost (ICP) here, the seventh checkpost in the country. It is likely to be operational by 2018.

By Rining Lyngdoh in Dawki
  • Published 25.01.17
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju unveils the foundation stone of the integrated checkpost in Dawki on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Dawki, Jan. 24: Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju today laid the foundation stone of an integrated checkpost (ICP) here, the seventh checkpost in the country. It is likely to be operational by 2018.

Located 83 km from Shillong, Dawki in West Jaintia Hills district is one of the major revenue-earning export points in Meghalaya.

The ICP is being built in an area spread over 22 acres, which include 2,456 square metres for a double-storeyed cargo terminal building, 4,625sq metres for a double-storeyed passenger terminal building, 1,420 sq metres for a warehouse and 60,000 sq metres for parking. The project cost is Rs 92.34 crore and the total built-up area is 9,191 sq metres.

The Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) is the nodal agency, and RITES Ltd the project management consultant. Work for constructing the checkpost has been awarded to M/s T.K. Engineering Consortium Private Ltd. The project is to be completed by August 2018.

Meghalaya home minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Shillong MP Vincent H. Pala, Amlarem MLA Stephanson Mukhim, Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla, LPAI chairman Y.S. Sherawat and other dignitaries were present.

Rijiju lauded the border management of the home ministry and LPAI for the initiative as well as the Meghalaya government and landowners for providing land to set up the project.

Rijiju stressed the need for opening up of borders for trade and commerce in order to usher in economic development in the region. He said while the northeastern region is geographically isolated from the rest of India, it shares more than 95 per cent of its borders with other neighbouring countries. "We should leverage this position to our advantage by maintaining a cordial relationship with our neighbours and fostering bilateral economic ties with them," Rijiju said.

"We want to open up more ICPs, border haats, and land customs offices in some more areas and we will increase the numbers with Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. We should not let our borders be a cause of concern or an isolated frontier. We should not feel that we are far from Delhi because wherever we are, we are part of India and we must develop our areas in the region. We will ensure that the Northeast is not deprived of its potential by closing our borders," Rijiju added.

Asked if such infrastructure (ICP) would be also opened up with China, he said relations with China were normal and talks related to the boundary issue are going on. "Talks with China are going on and hopefully we will be able to find a solution," he said.

Stating that the region needs a peaceful atmosphere, the minister in his appeal to the youth and people of the region said: "We are not contributing anything to our own people and society by taking up arms and we have ways and means to address the issues. The Northeast should be peaceful in order to be developed." He also warned there should be no compromise with the quality of the project.

Major items of trade via the ICP are coal, limestone, boulderstone, packaged food and plastic furniture besides other items.

Facilities at the passenger terminal comprise separate clearance for arrival and departure of passengers, waiting area for them, a lounge, a prayer room, a child care room, retail areas, medical facility, a foreign exchange bureau and a baggage scanner.

Facilities at the cargo terminal include bank and ATM, computerised cargo clearance, quarantine, weighbridges, toilet and rest areas.

The ICP will provide world-class facilities for bilateral trade and movement of passengers across the border. It will generate employment opportunities and provide major fillip to the economy of the state and the Northeast.

It will be a milestone in India-Bangladesh ties, especially with Dawki being a point for Guwahati-Shillong-Sylhet-Dhaka bus route.