The COVID 19 pandemic has delayed the upgrading of some of the Land Custom Stations (LCSs) across Meghalaya with Bangladesh, although efforts are made to upgrade as many as five Land Custom Stations (LCSs) in the state.
These include the Dawki, Bholaganj, Ghasuapara, Dalu and the Mahendraganj LCSs.
In total there are around 11 LCs in Meghalaya sector, however, reportedly some of these are non functional.
According to official sources, Dawki LCS is being upgraded into an Integrated Check Post (ICP) and only 15 percent of the work has been completed. The Meghalaya government has already handed over possession of 30,566 Sqm land for the ICP. The Land Port Authority India (LPAI) is developing these LCS.
Apart from Dawki, the work to upgrade the Dalu LCS has also been hit due to the pandemic. Just 10 per cent of the work has been completed. Once upgraded the LCS would have dedicated weighbridges and other infrastructure which would help boost trade.
In fact Dawki (East Khasi Hills) and Dalu (West Garo Hills) are the only two ICPs in the state. The ICP allows movements of goods as well as people across the two countries. Rest of the LCSs permit only movement of goods.
Ghasuapara LCSs is similarly important and is located in South Garo Hills. This LCS is an “export only” port for coal from Garo Hills region. Once upgraded the port would also facilitate import. “50 percent of the work at Ghasuapara has been completed,” officials said.
Work to upgrade the Bholaganj LCS is still on. “There are two export points in Bholaganj and one of these export points is being upgraded into a LCS,” the official added. Work to upgrade the Mahendraganj LCS has also been hit.
Interestingly, Some of these LCS have tremendous potential to increase trade with Bangladesh once they are upgraded and made fully operational.
However, export-import through some of these LCS is still on, but the exact potential of these land ports have not been realized so far.
Some of the main items of export from Meghalaya to Bangladesh are coal, limestone, boulder, quartz stones, raw hides and skins, ginger, fruits, bamboo tamarind and some other items. These LCSs import cotton waste synthetic net fabric, cement, garments and other items.
Many of these LCS are export only points and efforts are on to make these both import and export points. The Meghalaya government is also trying to develop the roads to these LCSs and also provide other amenities like water and electricity to these LCSs.