Leaders across political spectrum and business groups hailed agreement between India and Bangladesh to commence Agartala – Akhaura rail link and establish border haats in Tripura.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and his Bangladesh counterpart Dr Dipu Moni signed MoUs at Dhaka on Saturday on variety of issues, some related to Tripura that shares 856km boundary with Bangladesh.

“We welcome decisions taken by both governments. We want development takes place in the region through a durable socio-political-economic relation with Bangladesh”, CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar said on Sunday.

Leader of opposition in state assembly Ratan Lal Nath echoed the same.

He said the rail connectivity would immensely help Tripura in particular and other north-eastern states in general.

India and Bangladesh earlier conducted joint survey on 12 km link between Agartala and historic Akhaura rail junction in Bangladesh.

Officials here said India would take entire burden of expenditure towards land acquisition, track laying and infrastructure building.

Besides foreign ministers also resolved to set up border haats in Tripura and enhance existing number in Meghalaya. Border haat is an arrangement where buyers and sellers from both sides gather at a makeshift market to trade limited number of commodities.

Trade and commerce ministers of India and Bangladesh commenced one border haat in Meghalaya in 2011. Tripura government earlier sent proposals to central government to initiate to set up six border haats in the State.

“Border haat is a fantastic idea. This helps create bondage between populations of both sides of border”, said Makhan Lal Debnath, President of Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He however said both governments should work more to dispel shortcomings and barriers in main bilateral trade activity.

Tripura is the key area of export – import trade with Bangladesh in north-east India. While Bangladesh is facing a huge trade deficit with India in total trade quantum, it emerges leader in business with north-eastern states.

Leaders mentioned that India and Bangladesh should also achieve progress in transit issue. Bangladesh has so far not taken final call on granting transit facility to allow transportation of goods and passengers to and from landlocked northeast and mainland of India.