The Transport Minister of Tripura, Sushanta Chowdhury, held a review meeting on Thursday to discuss the progress of his department with senior officials, expressing his optimism about the soon-to-be-launched air connectivity between India and Bangladesh through Tripura.
During the meeting at Geetanjali Guest House in Agartala, Chowdhury spoke about the state government’s commitment to spend Rs 15 crore annually as gap funding to sustain the air connectivity and informed reporters that Rs 3 crore has already been disbursed for the project.
Chowdhury further stated that he would soon visit Delhi to hold meetings with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to address any existing issues and take necessary steps to equip the international airport with the required facilities. He also discussed the improvement of the transportation system in Tripura and mentioned the state’s international airport, Indo-Bangla railway connectivity from Nischintapur, and waterways connectivity as potential topics for discussion.
In August of last year, the state government approved a proposal to commence international flights between Tripura and Bangladesh, following the inauguration of the Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport with international-level standards by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2022.
The plan involves three weekly flights between Agartala and Chittagong in Bangladesh, with a ticket price of Rs 4,500 per passenger. Although full occupancy is not expected initially, the state government has committed to spending Rs 15 crore annually as gap funding to subsidize 50 percent of the operational cost shortfall for the first three years of operation.
Furthermore, various ambitious connectivity projects between India and Bangladesh are underway in Tripura, including the Indo-Bangla Maitri Setu in South Tripura, inland waterways connectivity with Bangladesh at Sepahijala district, and two Integrated Check Posts at the Agartala-Akhaura frontier and Sabroom in South Tripura.
An Indo-Bangla railway connectivity project linking Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka is also expected to be completed this year. Recently, the Japanese government proposed a connectivity conclave at Agartala, suggesting larger trade, commerce, and passenger movement prospects in the Bay of Bengal region with NE India, Bangladesh, and the Japan-funded Matarbari deep sea port in Bangladesh, putting Tripura in a strategic location on a larger connectivity map.