PM Modi inaugurates ‘Maitri Setu’ between Tripura and Bangladesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday virtually inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge (Maitri Setu) over the Feni river at Sabroom in south Tripura. He also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for eight other infrastructure projects together worth ₹ 3,518 crore.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a video message, said that the inauguration of the 1.9-km- long ‘Maitri Setu’ would herald a new chapter in relations between the two neighbours. The bridge, which was first mooted a decade ago, would immensely benefit Northeast India in trade matters as the same would connect the Chittagong sea port just 100 km from Agartala.
Ms. Hasina took the occasion to inform that the Bangladesh government had declared its Chittagong and Mongla ports as Port of Call to facilitate India’s uninterrupted international and domestic trade activities through waterways in Bangladesh. She opined that political boundaries should not become barriers to trade and economic relations.
Mr. Modi, in his speech that was aired at the programme in Vivekananda Stadium here, congratulated the BJP-led coalition government in Tripura for completing three years in office on Tuesday. “You have created history three years ago by ending the rule of a repressive regime of corruption and commission”, he said indirectly hitting out at the erstwhile CPI(M)-led Left front government.
Terming Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb ‘popular’, he said Mr. Deb’s government, with the active support of the Centre, has fulfilled all promises made to the people. With the spate of development and implementation of pro-people schemes, the state had emerged as an example for other States, he stated.
Before the 2018 Assembly elections ‘we promised to give a double-engine government – one engine in Tripura and one engine in Delhi’, he said to emphasise how the same party government in the State and the Centre really worked to achieve all-round success and growth. The State was progressing in both rural as well as urban areas. Almost 100 percent villages in Tripura were now free from ‘open defecation’.
Power surplus State
Mr. Modi highlighted Tripura’s achievement in becoming a power surplus State. The present government had covered 8,50,000 households to provide electricity. The Central government was taking care of Tripura’s needs, he asserted.
Speaking on the importance of ‘Maitri Setu’ on the Feni that demarcates international boundary between India and Bangladesh, he said the opening of the bridge would also benefit south Assam, Manipur and Mizoram to flourish in trade and tourism. “At the same time it will also create opportunities in Bangladesh”, he noted.
The Prime Minister spent a few minutes speaking in Kokborok – the dialect of Tripura’s indigenous community and credited community laurels for the socio-cultural development of the State.
Tripura Governor Ramesh Bais, Mr. Deb, Ministers, MPs, senior government officials and a large number of people gathered at the anniversary celebration programme. The Chief Minister, in his very brief speech, said the State’s 37 lakh people were blessed by the Prime Minister and their support would again be reflected in 2023 (the year of next Assembly elections).