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The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস

New hope in implementationc of Pragpur land port proposed at Daulatpur in Kushtia

Md. Abdul Kuddush, Kushtia

Published: 07:48, 26 May 2023

New hope in implementationc of Pragpur land port proposed at Daulatpur in Kushtia

The name of Pragpur in Kushtia is at the top among the 6 new land ports that the government has taken the initiative to establish. Local people have expressed anger about why the land port proposed in Pragpur of Daulatpur Upazila of Kushtia is not being implemented despite various activities for almost a century. Even though high level officials of Bangladesh and India have visited the area several times to verify the feasibility of land port implementation, there is no initiative to implement it. There have been concerns over whether it will be implemented at all. Manoj Kumar, the Indian Assistant High Commissioner assigned to Bangladesh, visited the designated area of the land port again last Thursday (May 18) to verify the feasibility. According to those concerned, the distance between Kolkata and Dhaka will be reduced by about one hundred kilometers if the port is located at Pragpur on the Kushtia border. As a result, transportation cost and time will be less. Moreover, the importance of India's Shikarpur along with Pragpur in 
the history of Bangladesh's liberation war is immense. Training freedom fighters, Shikarpur has played an important role in providing safe shelter to thousands of refugees. Communicating with Shikarpur, steeped in the memories of the Liberation War, through the implementation of Pragpur Land Port is a long-cherished dream of the people of Kushtia. Therefore, if the land port is implemented in Pragpur, the trade between the two countries can also bear historical importance. Considering the economic and historical importance, if the proposed land port in Pragpur is implemented, the import and export opportunities of the two countries can be created again. Pragpur land port can reduce Dhaka-Kolkata distance by 100 km if implemented. Which will reduce the cost of transportation of goods between the two countries. Besides, the governments of the two countries will not need any large amount of money for building the infrastructure to implement the land port in Pragpur. Being close to the highway, there is a conducive environment for easy import-export of goods. Only a small bridge needs to be constructed over the Mathabhanga river. Moreover, if there is an opportunity to import and export goods through legal means, smuggling and bringing goods through illegal means will also be stopped. As a result, the government will get a lot of revenue. New jobs will be created. Therefore, the local businessmen and common people want the speedy implementation of this proposed land port. Talking to local people on the ground, it is known that beyond Pragpur of Daulatpur upazila of Kushtia is Shikarpur of Nadia district of India. The heady river runs like a narrow ribbon in the middle. The National Highway is just 20 km from Pragpur via Lalonshah Bridge and the National Highway of India at Shikarpur in West Bengal. There was a bridge over the river Mathabhanga during the British period. At that time, Pragpur was used as one of the routes for trade and people. Due to the disappearance of that bridge over time, business and trade stopped. Therefore, to facilitate business and trade, the road has long been demanded by the local businessmen. The issue was seriously considered after the formation of the government in 2011 in Sheikh Hasina's second term with historical importance as the memory of the economic and liberation war was intertwined. According to that, the then shipping minister Shajahan Khan came to Kushtia and announced the establishment of a land port on the border of Pragpur. After that, the delegation of the Ministry of Shipping also checked the feasibility of the land port by visiting the Pragpur border. Land survey and other works were also done. But even though a long time has passed, the work of establishing a land port in Pragpur has not been implemented. Indian Assistant High Commissioner (Rajshahi) Manoj Kumar, appointed to Bangladesh last Thursday (May 18) visited the designated site of the proposed land port in Pragpur. At this time, Haji Rabiul Islam, president of Kushtia Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Daulatpur Upazila Parishad Adv. Ejaz Ahmed Mamun, Upazila Executive Officer Obaidullah, Upazila Parishad Vice Chairman Shakkir Ahmed and other local leaders were present. Later in a brief conversation, Manoj Kumar said that the implementation of the land port is a long process. The information obtained from the inspection of the proposed site will be communicated to the Government of India. Organizing Secretary of Upazila Awami League, Sardar Atiyar Rahman Atiq said, India's Shikarpur, Jamshedpur, Kurimpur and many surrounding places are associated with the memory of the Great Liberation War. If there is a land port in Pragpur, along with trade and commerce, the new generation boys will have the opportunity to know the history of the liberation war properly. Mukul Biswas, chairman of Pragpur Union Parishad, said that through
 Lalonshah and Bangabandhu Bridges from Pragpur, the capital Dhaka-Kolkata can be communicated at a very low cost and in a quick time. Moreover, since the communication system with other districts is good, it will be easy to bring the goods at a low cost and in a quick time. Daulatpur Upazila Executive Officer Md. Obaidullah said, if the land port is implemented, new job opportunities will be created. Especially in the erosion of the Padmani river, this land port can almost independently become the controller of changing the fate of a large population. Member of Parliament of Daulatpur A. Ka. M Sarwar Jahan Badshah said that Pragpur land port is one of the 6 new land ports that the present government has taken initiative to establish with India. This if implemented will not only strengthen the economy of Daulatpur but also the national economy. Moreover, the name of Shikarpur has a lot of historical importance as many memories of the liberation war are involved.