The integrated office of the check post at Fulbari. File picture

AVIJIT SINHA, TT, Siliguri, Aug. 3: The Union ministry of road transport and highways will conduct a study on 17 international check posts on India’s eastern border to ascertain bottlenecks, including lack of infrastructure, that delay trans-country traffic, sources have said.

The task of conducting the survey at the check posts on the border with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal has been assigned to the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), floated by the National Highways Authority of India. The company has already invited bids from consultants to carry out the “time and motion study” at the 17 check posts, seven of which are in Bengal.
“The study is a follow-up to the BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement signed by the four countries in June 2015. The agreement was inked to ease movement of vehicles, both passenger and cargo, among the four countries. So, it is imperative that proper infrastructure of all government agencies concerned are put in place at the check posts on our side,” a senior official of the NHAI said on condition of anonymity.
“There are certain inadequacies in the infrastructure at the check posts and vehicles are stuck on the border for around 30 minutes. That is why the study has been ordered to compile the data like the time taken by a vehicle to cross the border after completing all necessary formalities and shortcomings in infrastructure,” the official added.
“Once the data are ready, we believe the Union ministry will take necessary decisions to improve the infrastructure at the check posts. Once more amenities are put in place, traffic will become smoother on the borders,” he said.
The international check posts in Bengal are at Petrapole, Hilli, Mahadipur, Changrabandha and Fulbari (all on the Bangladesh border), Jaigaon (on Bhutan frontier) and Panitanki (on the Nepal boundary).
Except Petrapole, all other places are in north Bengal.
Added to the 17 international points, the survey will cover 48 inter-state check posts as well.