Siddique Islam – AHN Correspondent, Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) – Bangladesh government plans to privatize three more land ports this year under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement for a period of 25 years to help boost cross border trade, officials said Sunday. The land ports that will be handed over to private operators in the second phase are Bhomra in Satkhira, Akhaura in Brahmanbaria and Burimari in Lalmonirhat. The Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) has already invited applications from interested investors for pre-qualification for development and operation of land port at Bhomra in Satkhira, they added. Besides, the state-run BLPA is now developing infrastructures including erecting boundary walls and earth works at Akhaura and Burimari aiming to hand over the ports to the private operators by the end of this year.
“We’ll invite fresh applications from interested investors for participating in the pre-qualification for development and operation of the land ports after completing the development works,” a BLPA senior official told AHN in Dhaka. He also said the BLPA is now preparing the ground works to privatize the land ports for strengthening cross border trade through developing these ports. The BLPA has earlier handed over six land ports out of a total 12 to private operators in line with the government decision, the BLPA official added. The ports that have already been transferred through open tenders to the private operators include Sona Masjid in Chapai Nawabganj, Hili in Dinajpur, Banglabandha in Panchagarh, Bibir Bazar in Comilla, Birol in Dinajpur and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar. The government earlier decided to hand over the operations of the country’s 12 land ports to the private operators in phases under the BOT arrangement to gear up cross border trade with neighbouring countries including India and Myanmar. According to the earlier decision, Tamabil in Sylhet, Darshona in Chuadanga and Haluaghat in Mymensingh will also be transferred to the private sector in the third phase after successful completion of the second phase.
But, the BLPA has recommended the government to include the name of Jibonnagor land port in the list instead of Darshona in Chuadanga to boost trade relations with India. “We’ve submitted our recommendations to the government aiming to provide maximum facilities to the businessmen through developing of the ports,” another BLPA official told AHN in the capital, Dhaka.