Two more customs stations in Sylhet are turning into full-fledged land ports, which, it is hoped, will boost export-import activities.
Already the infrastructure development work in Sheola customs station of Beanibazar and land acquisition for Bholaganj customs house in Companiganj upazila have started to upgrade the stations to land ports.
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the infrastructural development activities of Sheola land port on 13 February.
The next day, after announcing that Bholaganj customs station would be upgraded to a land port, he inaugurated the land acquisition activity there.
Aslam Uddin, Sylhet additional deputy commissioner (revenue), said, "Land acquisition work has started to make Bholaganj a full-fledged land port. Soon this customs station will be officially declared a land port."
Although the infrastructural development work of Sheola customs station started on 13 February, it was declared a land port about six years ago on 30 June, 2015.
The Sheola customs station is very close to the Indian state of Assam. As the communication with the seven states of India was easier from there, the import-export would increase when the land port would become operational, said businessmen of the region.
They hope that imports and exports will increase also through Bholaganj.
Abul Kalam, a fruit importer, said "It is easier to import goods from India through Sheola customs stations because of the good communication system."
Before Sheola and Bholaganj, land port activities had started at Tamabil of Gowainghat in Sylhet. Tamabil customs station was declared a land port in 2001. About 16 years later, in 2016, the activities of a full-fledged land port at Tamabil started.
According to Bangladesh Land Port authority, Tk124 crore are being spent to develop Sheola customs station as a full-fledged land port.
The project is being implemented by the Bangladesh Land Port Authority under the Ministry of Shipping.
Work on the project has started with the funding of the World Bank under Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project-1.
The project is expected to be completed within the next two years.
Mausumi Mahbub, Beanibazar upazila nirbahi officer (UNO), said the land port in Sheola was going to be constructed on about 10.11 hectares of land.
"Under this project, warehouses, yard, security wall, way bridge scale, truck parking and domestic barracks will be constructed along with acquisition of 3.64 hectares of land apart from the previous six hectares. The customs station is being upgraded to a land port to boost regional trade," she said.