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“After the completion of the under construction vital bridge over river Feni by March, the surface communication between the proposed SEZ and the Chittagong international sea port would be much easier. High-quality roads were also being constructed on the two sides,” Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said.

Centre notifies Tripura’s lone SEZ

Agartala: The Union Commerce Ministry has notified the setting up of the first ever Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tripura with an estimated investment of Rs 1,550 crore, an official said here on Thursday.

An official of Tripura’s Industries Department said the Union Commerce Ministry earlier this week has notified the setting up of the first ever SEZ at Paschim Jalefa, near the border town of Sabroom in south Tripura with an estimated investment of Rs 1,550 crore.

The official said that the developer of the SEZ would be the state owned Tripura Industrial Development Corp (TSIDC), while an estimated 12,000 skilled jobs would be generated from this proposed SEZ.

According to the official, rubber-based industries, textile and apparel industries, bamboo and agri-food processing industries would be set-up in the SEZ, which is expected to open up new avenues to attract private investment considering the proximity of Bangladesh’s Chittagong international port and the construction of the bridge across Feni river in southern Tripura.

The under-construction bridge, expected to be completed by March next year, would connect the Northeastern state with southeast Bangladesh and facilitate easier surface communication to ferry goods to and fro the Northeastern region using the Chittagong sea port, which is around 70 km from Tripura’s border town Sabroom. The official said: “After the setting up of the SEZ, 100 per cent Income Tax exemption would be provided by the Centre on export income for SEZ units under Section 10AA of the Income Tax Act for the first five years.

“Also 50 per cent exemption would be provided for the next five years and 50 per cent of the ploughed back export profit for another five years,” he added.

Addressing an official event here, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said that the Union government, on the request of the state government, had decided to set up the SEZ in Sabroom, 130 km south of Agartala with the aim to attract Bangladeshi investors and industrialists.

He said: “After the completion of the under construction vital bridge over river Feni by March, the surface communication between the proposed SEZ and the Chittagong international sea port would be much easier. High-quality roads were also being constructed on the two sides.” Deb said that Bangladeshi and other industrialists and investors can set up tea and rubber-based industries in the proposed SEZ.

“The valued scraps of ships are available in Bangladesh. With these precious materials, various industries also can set up in the SEZ. We would get sincere support from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with whom I have a very cordial relation. She is slated to visit Tripura next month.” The Chief Minister also said that to set up a SEZ, 25 acre of land was required.

“We have sought relaxations to set up the SEZ. The Centre has relaxed some provisions for the SEZ. We would also modify some provisions in our industrial policies to facilitate the setting up of the SEZ,” Deb added.

At an nexpenditure of Rs 1,150 crore, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has already extended railway lines up to two bordering sub-divisional towns of Sabroom and Belonia.

Besides, the government-owned IRCON International Ltd (IRCON) has also been laying 12.23 km railway tracks at a cost of Rs 972 crore to link the Agartala station with the Bangladeshi railway network at Akhaura.

The Agartala-Akhaura railway line, would facilitate ferrying of goods to and from both the countries and greatly benefit India’s landlocked Northeastern states.

Besides, the journey time between Agartala and Kolkata, via Bangladesh, would be reduced by a third, from the existing 1,613-km through mountainous terrain via Meghalaya and Assam, to a mere 514 km.

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