Wagah Ceremony to be Replicated at India-Bangladesh Border
NEW DELHI: The central government has decided to replicate the Beating Retreat ceremony at the Wagah border on the Agartala-Akhaura Border with Bangladesh for the general public, in a bid to generate tourism.
The Agartala-Akhaura Border with Bangladesh is the next project which will be modeled on the lines of the Wagah broder.
The Union Tourism ministry has sanctioned a Tripura government project to create infrastructure along India-Bangladesh border similar to that at the Wagah border with Pakistan.
“Wagah-like infrastructure, including gallery, would be created at the Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) border to organise Beating Retreat ceremony,” Director Tripura Tourism, Tapas Ray told sections of the media.
“Under the tourism ministry’s ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme, the union government has sanctioned Rs.99 crore to implement a few tourism projects in Tripura, including the building of a gallery and other infrastructure in the Agartala-Akhaura border.” he added.
The Agartala-Akhaura check post is the second largest trading point between India and Bangladesh after Benapole and Petrapole with West Bengal. The Beating Retreat ceremony, which marks closing of the Wagah border near Amritsar every evening, is a military routine that the India-Pakistan border guards – the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers – have jointly conducted since 1959.
People travel especially to the border to witness the ceremony in which the flags of the two countries are lowered by the security personnel with a number of aggressive gestures and a mutually coordinated performance.
The Centre has sanctioned funds to create infrastructure for ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at Agartala-Akhaura border with Bangladesh, similar to that at Wagah in Punjab.
“Of the Rs 99 crore sanctioned by the Centre to develop tourist spots in Tripura, Rs 18 crore was earmarked to create infrastructure at the Agartala-Akhaura border for Wagah-like Beating Retreat Ceremony,” informed Ray.
"The clearances are needed from various department. And we are on it. We have finished with several rounds of meeting with BSF officials who will be managing the show. We expect that before the coming Durga Puja would start on the ground", he said.
The Agartala-Akhaura check post is an integrated one which is also the second largest trading centre with Bangladesh after Benapole and Petrapole in West Bengal.
The Beating Retreat ceremony is performed at Wagah during closing of the border every evening by the BSF and its Pak counterpart Pakistan Rangers since 1959 and is a major tourist attraction.
“The idea is to involve people. This kind of project will excite people and they would want to come and visit a place. That will help in both ways. The department will have tourism revenues while the soldiers will get a break from the solitary environment. So this initiative is a welcome move” said Nava Thakuria, President of northeastern journalist association.
“BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) regularly perform a beating retreat in Agartala-Akhaura border and it could be more exciting and splendid show with the building of proper infrastructure,” he added.