With the opening of the third integrated checkpoint (ICP) in Sabroom in India's Tripura, the long-awaited India-Bangladesh friendship bridge known as Maitri Setu will go into operation on 1 September.
During the proposed visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India, Sabroom ICP is likely to be opened virtually from New Delhi, The Times of India reports quoting official sources.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge (Maitri Setu) over the Feni River on 9 March 2021. However, the bridge was not opened to traffic.
The third ICP will unlock new avenues of trade and communication between South East Asia and northeast India, South Tripura district magistrate Saju Waheed A said on Thursday (17 August).
He held a meeting followed by a visit to the area with the officials of the Landport Authority of India, BSF, State Electricity Corporation and the sanitation department to review the preparation and completion of the works and whatever was left for opening the immigration counter.
"We are working on a plan to open an immigration counter at Maitri Setu to facilitate cross-border movements from September 1. Initially, there will be no cargo movement but passenger movement through Sabroom using Maitri Setu would begin and gradually when the system becomes stabilized and infrastructure would be set up fully, the movement of goods and cargo would start," Saju said.
According to the decision, jawans of 126 battalion BSF would guard the Indian side while 96 battalions of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) would secure the Bangladesh side to facilitate the passengers' movement between the two countries.
Maitri Setu will facilitate the travel from the Southern districts of Bangladesh, including Cox's Bazar and Chattogram Hill Tracts, to India through Tripura and international cargo from Chattogram seaport.
The 1.9-kilometre-long Maitri Setu connects Sabroom, the e southern point of India's Tripura, with Chittagong port covering a distance of 80 kilometres by road, Saju said, adding that at present, people from Bangladesh and Tripura are travelling through two ICPs – Akhaura (Agartala) and Srimantapur (Sonamura) – which easily connect central part of Bangladesh including Dhaka.