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Agartala, March 22(IANS) – The fourth ‘border haat’ (market) along the India-Bangladesh border is likely to be inaugurated next month to boost trade in local produce of areas on the two sides along the international boundary, a Tripura minister said on Sunday.
Another ‘border haat’, built at a cost of Rs.2.44 crore, is ready at Kamalasagar, bordering Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh. This would be the fourth ‘border haat’ along the India-Bangladesh border in the north-eastern states and second in Tripura, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Tapan Chakraborty told reporters here.
He said: Indian and Bangladeshi ministers, in presence of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, would inaugurate the new ‘border haat’ at Kamalasagar (30 km south-west of Agartala) likely next month.
India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, accompanied by her Bangladeshi counterpart Tofail Ahmed and the Tripura chief minister, jointly inaugurated a ‘border haat’ in Srinagar – about 140 km south of state capital Agartala – on January 13.
Two border haats were set up in 2012 on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border — at Kalaichar (India)-Baliamari (Bangladesh) and at Dalora (Bangladesh)-Balat (India).
The ‘border haats’ are allowed to sell local agricultural and horticultural products, spices, minor forest produce (excluding timber), fresh and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items.
Chakraborty said a Land Customs Station (LCS) at Agartala’s Srimantapur, bordering Comilla district of Bangladesh, is also ready for operationalisation to facilitate border trade between the two countries.
Tripura has eight LCSs along the Bangladesh border to regulate trade between India and its neighbour.
After inauguration of Srinagar ‘border haat’ on January 13, commodities worth Rs.6.50 lakh were sold every Tuesday on an average. As per the understanding between the two governments (Bangladesh and India), the ‘border haat’ functions once a week, the minister said.
He said the Tripura government had proposed to set up eight ‘border haats’ along the state’s borders with Bangladesh, but the governments of the two countries had so far agreed to set up only four.
Equal numbers of traders (25 to 30) from both sides living within a five km radius of the border are being allowed to sell and buy locally produced goods and crops.
According to a union home ministry report, India is keen to set up 70 border markets along its border with Bangladesh.
The four north-eastern state governments — Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram — have also proposed the setting up of 15 ‘border haats’ along the India-Myanmar border to develop trans-border trade and business.
India and Bangladesh share a 4,096-km border along West Bengal (2,216 km), Tripura (856 km), Assam (263 km), Meghalaya (443 km) and Mizoram (318 km). The two neighbours have 2,979 km of land border and 1,116 km of riverine boundaries.
The four north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km), Nagaland (215 km) and Mizoram (510 km) share 1,643 km of an unfenced border with Myanmar.