chapter  12
20 Pages

Optimal Pricing Policy of Kolkata–Agartala Transit Route: Some Methodological Issues

BySubir Kumar Sen, Sudakshina Gupta, Ishita Mukhopadhyay

Before partition, Tripura was very much connected with India’s hinterland both by roads and railways through the then East Bengal (presently known as Bangladesh).1 So, no need was felt to connect Tripura with the rest of the states in the northeast.2 But the partition made Tripura an extreme outpost not only from the heartland of India but also from the northeastern region. After partition, Tripura emerged as a mirror image of the whole northeastern region since partition converted the latter to a chicken-shaped area connected with the mainland through the congested Siliguri corridor whereas the former was converted into a landlocked region feasibly connected with the northeastern region only through the narrow Churaibari corridor. Though it shared some boundary with neighbouring Mizoram in the eastern part smooth transportation was not possible due to the presence of the Jampui Hills on the Mizoram state border. The remaining boundary is covered by Bangladesh in the whole western, southern and most of the eastern side. Hence, the immediate need was to connect Tripura with the northeastern region. The Assam-Agartala road (National Highway-44) project via Churaibari was found to be the only economically viable project. The central government constructed the Assam-Agartala road through the hilly region. As a result, a well-connected native state became an isolated landlocked region with its immense geo-strategic importance in the face of political tension between India and Pakistan. Against this background, Tripura is constantly facing the problem of a lack of smooth transportation and naturally, it is an economic imperative for this landlocked state to seek benefi ts for itself through greater regional integration. The development of the state requires the existence of a viable road network in Tripura so that the transport

cost for both infl ows and outfl ows of commodities from Tripura will be cheaper. The state government of Tripura is continuously demanding for a transit route through Bangladesh but they are not ready to implement this because of possible threat of loss. So, the debate on the possibility of a viable road network is still relevant for the economic progress of the state.