Tripura airport being upgraded for Hasina’s visit

Agartala, Jan 6 (IANS) The Indian government is upgrading the Tripura airport with international facilities ahead of the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose aircraft will land here directly from Dhaka next week, a top official said here Friday.

Hasina, accompanied by six Bangladesh ministers, including Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, will make a two-day maiden visit to the northeast Indian state of Tripura Jan 11. A big 65-member delegation of businessmen and intellectuals will accompany her.

‘The Airports Authority of India (AAI) following the direction of the central government has been upgrading facilities at the Agartala airport to that of international airports in India,’ Tripura Chief Secretary S.K. Panda told reporters.

Hasina will arrive in Agartala, which has a domestic airport, on a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

‘Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal will arrive in Agartala Jan 11 to receive Hasina on behalf of the Indian government,’ Panda said.

‘Separate teams of special security forces from Dhaka and New Delhi arrived here Thursday to give foolproof security to Hasina and accompanying dignitaries.’

According to a senior official, Hasina is expected to hold a high-level meeting with the Tripura chief minister, top Indian officials and traders in Agartala to finalise strategies to boost trade between Bangladesh and India’s northeastern states.

The Tripura Central University will confer an honorary doctorate to Hasina Jan 12.

‘Besides Hasina, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari would also attend the university’s ninth convocation Jan 12,’ Vice Chancellor Arunoday Saha told IANS.

Tripura shares an 856 km border with Bangladesh.

Saha said: ‘This is the first time the Tripura University would confer the honorary D. Litt on a person after it was set up in 1987.’

‘Hasina’s visit to Tripura would also boost trade and economic relations between the northeastern region of India and Bangladesh,’ Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said.

‘On behalf of Tripura, a huge ceremonial reception would be given to Hasina and Ansari,’ he added.