INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AT LAND CUSTOMS STATIONS TO BOOST TRADE WITH NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES
Date : 07 Jan 2004
Location : New Delhi
Development of proper infrastructure at Land Customs Stations (LCSs) is important for smooth functioning of the LCSs as export outlets and several projects for the development of the infrastructure in different LCSs have been approved both under the erstwhile CIB (Critical Infrastructure Balance) Scheme and now under ASIDE (Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development of Exports) scheme. The LCSs will give a big boost to India’s trade with neighbouring countries. The LCSs are primarily gateways for transit of goods, services and human beings between the neighbouring countries. India shares a long border with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. There are 132 Notified Land Customs Stations on the border of these countries.
Exports from LCSs were Rs 9662.44 Crore in 2001-02 and Rs 12530.14 Crore in 2002-03.
Out of the operational LCSs, 16 LCSs have been prioritised for infrastructure development works in the various joint meetings with Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. These are -- Raxaul & Jogbani in Bihar; Nepalganj and Sunauli in Uttar Pradesh; Petrapole, Chandrabandha, Gede and Phulbari in West Bengal; Karimganj and Sutarkhandi in Assam; Borsorah and Dawki in Meghalaya; Moreh in Manipur; Demagiri in Mizoram and Agartala and Old Raghna Bazar in Tripura. Infrastructure profiles of all these LCSs have been prepared for focussed attention. Several visits have been undertaken by higher officials of Department of Commerce to various LCSs like Dawki, Sutarkhandi, Karimganj Agartala and Old Raghna Bazar. States where these 16 LCSs are located have been requested for joint visit to the LCS by all the concerned departments and agencies of the Central Government and State Government to resolve the infrastructural issues.
Petrapole is one of the most important Land Customs Stations with Bangladesh. Three meetings on 6th January 2003, 19th May 2003 and 10th December 2003 have been held there under the Chairmanship of Shri Vinay Bansal, Additional Secretary (Infrastructure), Department of Commerce, with the representatives of Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of External Affairs; Customs; Central Warehousing Corporation; Banking; Railways; exporters and the State Governments for the development of proper infrastructure there. In the last meeting held on 10th December 2003, a high level delegation led by the Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh also participated where several bilateral issues were discussed.
Several meetings have also been held with the officials of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health for development of Proper roads, Banks with Forex facility, Plant Quarantine issues.
Matters have been taken up at higher level in Ministry of Railways and Indian Airlines & Airport Authority of India for proper rail connectivity and air link to the nearby areas of the Land Custom Stations.
For a coordinated development of the LCS and for deliberating on the issues connected with the development of infrastructure for promoting international trade through LCS, an Inter – Ministerial Committee was constituted in March 2003 under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Infrastructure), Department of Commerce. To deliberate on the local issues connected with day-to-day functioning of the trade through LCS, separate Coordination Committees at each LCS have been constituted in August 2003.