3-day India-Bangladesh festival to be held in October

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Chief Ministers of north-eastern states and several Union Ministers along with foreign delegates are expected to attend the festival…reports Asian Lite News

To commemorate India’s ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and Bangladesh’s golden jubilee of independence, a three-day Silchar-Sylhet festival has been planned to be organised in Assam’s Silchar town from October 29-31.

India Foundation, in association with ‘Friends of Bangladesh’, an organisation working to develop Bangladesh’s relations with its neighbourhood, is the joint organiser of the three-day event.

Chief Ministers of north-eastern states and several Union Ministers along with foreign delegates are expected to attend the festival.

BJP MP from Silchar, Rajdeep Roy said that this will be the first grand inter-country festival to be held in Assam to mark the country’s 75 years of independence.

“In the sideline to the event, we will address the issues related to both countries, including trade and commerce, river sharing, apart from intermixing of art, culture and food,” he added.

The organisers have claimed that as Sylhet was partitioned in 1947 from India, the event will act to bridge the gap between the two countries.

Roy said that nearly 10 Bangladesh MPs and a few Ministers are also expected to attend the three-day event.

Major General (retd) of Bangladesh, Samsul Arfin has come to India to look after the things related to organising this major event and said that the festival will further strengthen the ties between India and Bangladesh.

He said: “Sylhet was once a part of Assam and we are hoping to witness the old connection between the two places once again during the festival.”

Improving physical linkages

India has been working on infrastructure on either side of the border. In March 2021, the Prime Ministers of the two countries inaugurated the Maitri Setu, a bridge built over the Feni River, which has reduced the distance between Sabroom in southern Tripura and the Chittagong port to just 111 km.

The government is working on a multi-modal transit hub at Sabroom inclusive of road and rail connectivity that can help goods reach the Chittagong port in a few hours. Road connectivity in Meghalaya’s Dawki, southern Assam’s Sutarkandi and Tripura’s Akhaura linking eastern and south-eastern Bangladesh is also being improved.

Mizoram is keen on bridges across the Khawthlangtuipui river (Karnaphuli in Bangladesh) for faster access to the Chittagong port. Apart from the India-Bangladesh Protocol Route involving the Brahmaputra, cargo ships from Bangladesh have reached Tripura through the Gomati River and Assam’s Karimganj via the Kushiara River.

In June this year, the Mitali Express, a train running bi-weekly from New Jalpaiguri in northern West Bengal’s North Bengal region to the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, began its maiden journey.

Due to the pandemic, it was delayed by 14 months following its virtual inauguration in March 2021.

By connecting Bangladesh with North Bengal, the Mitali Express facilitates travel for Bangladeshi tourists to favoured Indian destinations like Darjeeling, Dooars, and Sikkim. It, therefore, opens up more opportunities to establish robust people-to-people connections.

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