The bridge "Maître Setu," over River Feni connecting South Tripura with of Bangladesh's Ramgarh getting access to Chattogram seaport, is all set to open within a couple of months after confirmation from Prime Ministers of the two counties.
The 1.9 kilometres long international standard bridge had begun in 2017 with the sanctioned cost of Rs128.69crore and was scheduled to be completed in two years but the construction got delayed in two phases including nine months due to Covid-19 this year, according to Indian officials, reports United News of India.
The Indian officials, however, stated that project execution authority National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) has officially taken over the bridge on early Friday but would take at least a month to open it for vehicles and goods movement after all formalities including re-checking the safety standard of the work.
"We are ready to dedicate the bridge for the nation but the schedule of the inauguration of Maitre Setu would be finalized at the highest level where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hassina are expected to take part. The state government wants the physical presence of both the prime ministers in the event instead of virtual launching," said a top official of NHDCL.
The deputy chief minister of Tripura Jishnu Dev Varma said that Maitre Setu is one of the biggest gifts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Northeastern states to get direct access to seaports, which would open up a new horizon of development for Southeast Asian countries.
At present, Haldia port is the only sea trade access point for northeastern states of covering road distance of 600 kilometres to 1200 kilometres but after the opening of Maitre Setu, the distance would be reduced substantially from 75 kilometres to 600 kilometres for all the northeastern states, Dev Varma said, adding, "It will connect Tripura Southeast Asia as well as boost bilateral trades among the countries."
To add to the feather, the Narendra Modi led government has sanctioned a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Sabroom, which would facilitate international investment with the proximity of Chattogram seaport. As a result, goods coming from other parts of the country and abroad through waterways could be reached within an hour to the logistic hub of Tripura and thereafter, can go any part of northeast within 24-30 hours, he pointed out.
He further stated that the railway connectivity between Agartala and Akhaura has also been progressing expectedly to meet up the deadline. The government of India is keen to establish new Integrated Check posts in new locations for facilitating the movement of goods and people between India and Bangladesh.
The new airport with all international facilities at Agartala will start functioning very soon and altogether Tripura would become the trade hub for northeast India and an attractive investment centre for Southeast Asian countries, Dev Varma added.