Bangladesh PM likely to inaugurate memorial park in Tripura

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Agartala, Dec 9 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina likely to inaugurate the Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri Udyan being built over 20 hectares in Chottakhola in southern Tripura to commemorate the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, a Tripura minister said on Friday.

“In unofficial talks in Dhaka, while talking to some Tripura’s political leaders, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has agreed to inaugurate the Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri Udyan (friendship garden). Formal invitation letter would be send to her through the Indian government soon,” a Tripura minister told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He said that the works for the first phase of the park would be completed in February next year.

Tripura PWD and Health Minister Badal Choudhury accompanied by senior officials visited the park on Thursday to review the progress of the works.

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Tripura assembly member Sudhan Das, among those who first conceived the idea to build the park, said that so far Rs 5 crore has been spent to develop the park, 130-km south of Agartala.

The foundation stone of the park was laid in November 2010 by the then Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni.

“We had sent a Rs 12-crore project to the Union government for this park, but the Centre did not respond,” Das told IANS.

He said that a museum is also being set up at the park. It will showcase the arms and ammunition used in the Liberation War, rare photographs and war literature. The park will also feature 220 different species of plants.

Other highlights of the memorial include the surrounding hillocks, Trichna Wildlife Sanctuary and a 500-year-old mosque near Bangladesh’s Comilla district.

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The entire project is being executed by the Tripura government departments of forests, rural development, PWD, horticulture, science and technology, water resource and power.

PWD Minister Choudhury said: “We had discussed about building a memorial several years back with the then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.”

Justifying the decision to build the memorial in the state, Choudhury said: “Tripura had not only accommodated the displaced people but also provided all kinds of support and help to the freedom fighters. The border town of Belonia was attacked by the Pakistani forces for several days.

“Over 1,600,000 displaced people from the then East Pakistan had taken shelter in Tripura. Tripura had many camps in four sectors from where the freedom fighters fought the Pakistani forces in the nine-month-long war in 1971,” Choudhury added, who hails from Belonia sub-division under which Bharat-Bangladesh Maitri Udyan falls.

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