TODAY -

'Dry fish' from Chittagong

Free Thinker *



We always look for a seaport to reach out to the world. A kind of two-way traffic – goods coming and going – at a cheaper cost. Sea routes and rail lines are the cheapest ways of transport so far. We must endeavor to get both sooner or later.

Modi ji & Biplab da have done a good job – futuristic and progressive for our landlocked region. The inauguration of Maitri Setu over river Feni at Sabroom (Tripura ) is a wonderful thing for the NE region particularly for Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. This will give us an international sea port–CHITTAGONG (Bangladesh)- providing us ample economic opportunities. We can reach out to the world through this seaport.

So, we must keep Bangladesh in the loop and work together for an economic boom in this part of the world.

Road network from Imphal to Chittagong is already there, but it is about 730 km long and not very commercially viable. If we have a rail line up to Chittagong; that will be a great boon for us. Linking Imphal and Sabroom (Tripura ) will not be a problem; it is under construction and will be linked.

Dhaka is willing to extend the line from Sabroom up to Chittagong. Now we may start dreaming of a rail line from Imphal to Chittagong. Imphal to Sabroom (Tripura) will be connected sooner or later. Sabroom to Chittagong is just 70 km away; line should be laid. If laid and trade begins, there will be no looking back.

We are happy to learn the fact that Jiribam-Imphal Railway Project is now on a faster pace. After the completion of this project the State will be vividly visible in the Railway Map of the country (Jiribam is a speck just for name sake). If I remember correctly this project was initiated in the year 2003 during the first NDA regime at the Centre.

However, the implementation of the project started only in the year 2008 – 110 km long line. Unfortunately, the completion target of Imphal-Jiribam line keeps extending from 2014 to 2019, and from 2019 to 2020 and now extended to 2022.

Frequent extension of completion deadlines causes manifold consequences–cost over-run, time over-run, energy over-run, patience over-run etc etc. We are more eager now because we need to extend the same line up to Sabroom to connect with Chittagong.

It is a known fact that the project faces many difficulties; unstable landscape, difficult terrain and villager’s reluctance are the main factors for delaying the project. Again, security is another major concern for the workers and engineers working at the ground level of the project.

Despite all these obstacles and difficulties, the Union Minister for Railways Piyush ji is taking keen interest in the project and wants to complete it at the earliest. His strict monitoring and kind personal indulgence will certainly make a difference.

We hope, this time under his able leadership there won’t be any need to extend the completion deadline. Then immediately it should be linked with Silcher–Lumding so to reach Sabroom.

Cox’s Bazaar is some 150 km from Chittagong. This is the place where we can get dry fishes at throw away prices. The dry fishes (pre fermented stage) are found in abundance. The transportation cost is the only worry. Many Bangladeshi Manipuris are there to help you. Try it.

Let them bring the goods up to Ramgargh ( Bangladesh ) , then shift to Sabroom (India). Tie up with the transporters concerned. Mint Taka.

Indeed we must take advantage of this recently inaugurated 2 Km long Indo-Bangla border bridge MAITRI SETU, connecting India and Bangladesh; the bridge is about 70 Km away from Chittagong, one of the oldest sea ports of the world.

A hinterland Rail network must be developed quickly by linking Sabroom with Aizawl, Imphal, Lumding, Kohima, Silcher etc; so that these landlocked areas of the region are exposed to new economic opportunities provided by an international seaport. Reaching out to Singapore, Sri Lanka, Siam will be much easier and cheaper.

While Burma is playing hide and seek, Bangladesh is a natural option for Acting East.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 18 2021.



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