PM Modi's decision to open the commercial water transport route from Bangladesh and the efforts of young CM Biplab Kumar Dev has proved to be a boon for Tripura, which has become the main logistics hub for commercial transport and supplies for the eight northeastern states
Tripura has a long history of struggle building up good infrastructure for mobility of people and essential goods. Since the princely state merged with the Indian Union in 1949, no measured improvement was noticed in this land lock state having an 856 KM long boundary with Bangladesh. The state highways were in such bad conditions that the highway used to be jam for days together. There were reports in newspapers that petrol was sold at Rs500/Ltr 20 years back. People of the state have suffered a hell of problems in getting supplies. They thought this was the only way for them to dwell until 2014.
The Ministry of Transport & highways Nitin Gadkari took the plight of the people seriously and started massive Rs5000 Crs road projects, sent high-level officers from the centre to monitor the projects and gave respite to the people of the state. The state has seen a strong & stable government of the Communist Party of India from 1993-2018 for long twenty-four years. Before that Congress party was in power, barring a small stint of the Janta Party in 1977. Despite such long tenure of the Manik Sarkar led CPI government, the state remains in pathetic infrastructure conditions, be it drinking water, health or rods. In 2018, Biplab Kumar Dev, Chief Minister of the BJP, formed a government for the first time in Tripura with the elimination of communists.
Let's analyse what the Biplav Dev led BJP government explored & built-in these three years.
Look at the geographical proximity of Tripura & another northeastern state. The Haldia port of West Bengal used to be the only route to transport goods coming by sea to the northeast. The distance from the Haldia port of Guwahati, the Northeast gateway, was 1220 km and the distance of Agartala, the capital of Tripura, was 1645 km. Whereas the distance from Tripura to Chittagong port in Bangladesh is only 67 km. And the distance from Tripura to Guwahati is only 550 km.
Chittagong is connected with Agartala by two rivers, the Meghna of Bangladesh and the Gumti river of Tripura. Small ships were used to ply in Meghna from long back, but due to excessive silting in the 35 km length of the Gumti River, the operation of these small ships was closed.
After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, India could get permission for commercial use of Chattogram port. But no attempt was made for it for 44 years. Prime Minister Modi made efforts for this as soon he became the Prime Minister in 2014. The MoU was signed with Bangladesh on 6 June 2015. After the formation of the BJP government in Tripura, this could do on the ground. An agreement in this regard was signed on 25 October 2018.
As soon as he took over as the Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Dev met Prime Minister Modi and then Waterways Minister Nitin Gadkari to request them to help clean the Gumti river dredging it. Results are now visible within two years. In September 2020, the trade waterway between India and Bangladesh was inaugurated. Prime Minister Modi has also connected Tripura by road with Chittagong port in Bangladesh by inaugurating one and a half kilometres long Maitri Setu on the Feni river this year.
Tripura has become the main logistics hub for commercial transport and supplies for the eight northeastern states. Today thousands of trucks are being operated from the soil of Tripura. This sequence is to continue to grow in the years to come. Prime Minister Modi's decision to open the route of commercial water transport from Bangladesh and the efforts of young Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Dev has proved to be a boon for Tripura, with a population of about 42 lakhs.
Traders and citizens of all the Northeast states have also gotten unprecedented relief from the never-ending apathy of road jams and high prices of goods, huge profits have been made. That young Chief Minister has shown his capacity and responded to the mandate given by the people of Tripura to BJP by fulfilling the promise in just two years. The recently concluded local body election result also acknowledges the good governance of the BJP government.
Here is a thought, Why the work which could have been done 40-45 years ago was not done till 2014.? The reason is, since 1977, only communists have been in power in Bengal and Tripura. Thousands of crores of annual business of carrying goods from Haldia to Northeast was with the comrades of the Communist Party of Bengal. They used to charge people of the northeast exuberantly. That's why the northeast has suffered at the hands of the communist ideologues and their followers.
Recently there were reports of huge communal tension in the state because of some fake reporting by a few journalists of the leftist clan. This was to tarnish the popularity and hard work of the Biplab Dev government, though it was dealt with properly by the police department, and FIRs were lodged against over 180 Twitter handles and those journalists.
Tripura has given this message that the Hindutva government takes care of the people's interests and their happiness, which they reciprocated in the elections. By winning 329 seats out of a total of 334 in Tripura's municipal elections, the people of Tripura have given a strong & clean signal that the voter is now well aware of the facts despite efforts to create fake narratives against a popularly elected government. More importantly, Hindus have started responding to such attempts via EVM machines. These are good signs for a strong and prosperous Bharat.