The Chilahati land port in Nilphamari's Domar upazila is still to become operational six years after its inauguration as the Indian side is yet to wrap up their preparations to get goods flowing through the new point of entry and exit.
“It is being delayed as the preparations on the Indian side are still incomplete,” said Aftabuddin Sarker, lawmaker of the Domar-Dimla constituency.
But the Bangladesh side is all set: the government even completed the renovation of the nearby Chilahati Rail Station and the connecting rail routes last year at a cost of Tk 203 crore to better support the land port. The delay though has got the local business community worked up.
The Chilahati land post has special facilities in comparison to others such as the broad-gauge tracks that directly connect the region to the capital and other big cities, said Farhanul Huq, vice-president of Nilphamari Chamber of Commerce and Industries. “This port could have given a boost to the trade and commerce of this under-developed region of the country,” he added.
Trade with India, Nepal and Bhutan can easily be facilitated for the port's advantageous location, said Abdul Wahed Sarker, a former president of the chamber.
Most exporters and importers of Rangpur division now use the distant Burimari and Banglabandha land ports, said Idris Ali, president of Saidpur Merchants' Association.
Abu Musa Mahmudul Huq, president of Chilahati Land Port Implementation Committee, warned of agitation if the port remained inoperative for long.
Nilphamari Deputy Commissioner Khaled Rahim said the government is working with the Indian side to make the land port functional at the earliest.