Biplab wants to make Akhaura into second Wagah
By Our Correspondent, 13/05/2018, Agartala

India-Bangladesh Akhaura Border will soon have facilities like that at the famed Attari-Wagah Border. In order to promote tourism in Tripura, the Centre in coordination with the BJP-led State Government is all set to develop the Akhaura Border.The refurbished border spot will be used for the regular drills with zeal similar to that at the Indo-Pak border. Even though the BSF and Bangladesh Rifles do their morning and evening drills of Beating the Retreat, the audience presence is very less on both the sides which has makeshift arrangements.Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb told reporters that besides developing state-of the-art facilities at the Akhaura Border, his Government is committed to initiate several other tourism-related projects.

“We will also develop a famous Hindu temple Tripura Sundari on the lines of Vaishno Devi and Kamakhya Devi and undertake four-laning of beautiful roads which at every km will have shops of local arts and crafts,” Deb said.Further, India will build a 15-km railway track costing `250 crore linking Tripura’s capital Agartala with Akhaura that is on south eastern part of the State. This is an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka by 2020.Of the 15-km rail line, five km of track falls in the Indian territory and the remaining is in Bangladesh.

“The new rail link in another two years will promote tourism from across the borders,” the Chief Minister maintained.Sources said that a Rs 90-crore budget has been allocated to develop facilities like stadium where people from the Indian side including the entire north east can visit as tourists at Akhoura to witness the almost half-an-hour programme.“Almost 100 people visit here every day. Most of them are locals and State guests unlike the Wagah side in Amritsar where the event is major tourist attraction and tourism destination.

A similar facility will be developed at this point to attract more visitors which will add on to the Tripura tourism. Both the Centre and State in coordination will work on this Rs 90-crore project,” said a Government official at the border.The Beating the Retreat ceremony ont Wagah border attracts large number of visitors from all over the country. The main event is held every day before sunset when personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers carry out the drill in a vigorous manner which enthralls the spectators.At present,

Tripura’s tourist attractions include Ujjayanta Mahal and Museum, a temple and a mosque besides Neer Mahal while the border stretch is full of activity during the day with people from both sides crossing with valid documents.A shopping arcade is also likely to be developed so that people from Bangladesh side do not have to enter deep into the Capital city. The usual shopping items for them from India are branded grocery, clothing, medicines, sanitary products and electrical and electronics.