Sandeep Joshi

“Cabinet has approved introduction of draft Bill”

ICPs to be set up at 13 border locations

To house all regulatory agencies

NEW DELHI: “The formation of Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) would be a big step towards strengthening the country’s trade ties with its neighbours. LPAI would ensure construction and maintenance of integrated check posts (ICPs) at our land borders that would not only make border management more efficient but also facilitate legitimate trade and commerce,” says Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh.

Speaking to The Hindu here, Mr. Ramesh said the Union Cabinet had already given its approval for introduction of a draft Bill – the Land Ports Authority of India Bill, 2008 -- in Parliament for setting up the new Authority to oversee the construction, management and maintenance of ICPs for regulation of trade and transit.

Hoping that the Bill would soon be passed by Parliament, Mr. Ramesh said initially the project envisages establishment of ICPs at 13 locations on the country’s borders with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar at a total estimated cost of Rs.734 crore under the 11th Five Year Plan.

“While seven locations on the India-Bangladesh border have been identified, four ICPs would come up on the India-Nepal border. One ICP each at Moreh (India-Myanmar border) and Wagah (India-Pakistan border) have also been included in the list in view of the volume of trade, traffic and its strategic importance,” he said.

According to the Minister, other ICPs on the India-Bangladesh border include Petrapole, Hili, Chandrabangha (all in West Bengal), Sutarkhandi (Assam), Dawki (Meghalaya), Akhaura (Tripura) and Kawarpuchiah (Mizoram). On the India-Nepal border, ICPs will come up at Raxual and Jogbani (both in Bihar), Sunauli and Rupaidiha (Uttar Pradesh).

“The ICPs will house all the regulatory agencies like Immigration, Customs and Border Security together with support facilities like warehousing, banking and hotels in a single complex equipped with all modern amenities,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh said LPAI would be an autonomous agency under the Union Home Ministry’s Department of Border Management which is being constituted on the lines of bodies like the Airports Authority of India. The efforts is to converge all functions related to border crossing and border management at ICPs – Customs, Immigration, quarantine (with plant and animal) and security.