Seamless transport connectivity with India may boost Bangladesh's income by 17 pc, says World Bank

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Representative Image
Representative Image

Dhaka [Bangladesh], March 10 (ANI): Seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase the latter's national income by as much as 17 per cent, according to a new World Bank report.

The report, published at a virtual press conference, is titled 'Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia'.

It analyses the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), compares it with international best practices and identifies its strengths as well as gaps for seamless regional connectivity, Dhaka Tribune said.

According to the report, seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 17 per cent in Bangladesh and 8 per cent in India.

"Thick border slows down transport and economies and easing border restriction generates significant benefits for the neighbouring countries. Ultimately, connectivity offers the promise of long term sustainability and inclusive growth. The World Bank-funded USD 2.1 billion for developing connectivity infrastructures for BBIN countries," said Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director for India.

He also quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as saying during the virtual inauguration of 'Maitri Setu' on Tuesday that political boundaries should not become physical barriers to trade.

During the event, Sheikh Hasina lauded India for "building a prosperous region together" and wished for a "successful operation and utilisation" of the Maitri Setu built on River Feni.

"50 years ago, in 1971, India opened up its border for Bangladesh's people to support their freedom struggle; today we are building a prosperous region together. I wish successful operation and utilisation of the Feni Maitri Setu," said Hasina while inaugurating the bridge alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing.

"The opening of any bridge is a testimony to the Bangladesh government's continued commitment to support our neighbour India in strengthening connectivity in the region particularly for the North-East of India," she added.

The Feni Maitri Setu is expected to improve the socio-economic condition of the people of Tripura and the surrounding north-eastern states of India and will also contribute to improving the livelihoods of those residing on the Bangladesh side of the bridge.

This comes ahead of PM Modi's visit to Bangladesh in the latter part of March. According to sources, he will be visiting Dhaka on March 26 and 27. (ANI)