Dhaka, June 27 (bdnews24.com) – The main opposition BNP is against providing transit facility to India without analysing its economic benefits and the security implications.
"First we have to make a comprehensive study of the economic benefits and security concerns, and what impact it will have on our export to the Indian northeastern states," said BNP standing committee M K Anwar at a press briefing Monday.
"We have to discuss the issue before taking any decision," he said.
The former minister said he had no knowledge if the government had done a comprehensive study of the issue.
Anwar said the finance minister in his budget speech for 2011-12 wanted to make Bangladesh a transit country like Switzerland.
"But without analysing its impact on infrastructure, export and security, Bangladesh might end up becoming a Sikkim instead of Switzerland," he said.
The government earlier said that the country would get $1 billion by providing the transit, "but now it is saying if the country claims fee, 'we would be uncivilized'."
"We are not against any economic development but we have to analyse the cost and benefit of transit," he said.
The government had issued an SRO on collecting transit fee but later it was withdrawn, Anwar pointed out.
The finance minister in his 2010-11 budget imposed Tk 1,000 transit fee on bulk cargo and Tk 10,000 for a container and that the government collected about Tk 0.6 million, but later it was withdrawn.
The BNP chairperson in New York said that the party was in favour of having good relations with India but it should be based on equity, Anwar said.
Former commerce minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said the preliminary estimate of the government revealed that $6 billion would be needed for transit infrastructure development, and if maintenance costs were also considered, it would be 20 per cent of the total costs.
"Even if we consider only economic aspect, I don't think it is viable to sit for a negotiation," he pointed out.