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Fourth ‘border haat’ may open in Tripura next month

India is keen to set up 70 border markets with Bangladesh, report says

Agartala: 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. 24.4 million, 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 the presence of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, would inaugurate the new ‘border haat’ at Kamalasagar (30km south-west of Agartala) likely next month.”

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, accompanied by her Bangladeshi counterpart Tofail Ahmad and the Tripura chief minister, jointly inaugurated a ‘border haat’ in Srinagar — about 140km south of state capital Agartala — on January 13.

Two border hats were set up in 2012 on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border — at Kalaichar (India)-Baliamari (Bangladesh) and at Dalora (Bangladesh)-Balat (India).

The ‘border hats’ 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 Rs650,000 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 hats’ 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 hats’ along the India-Myanmar border to develop transborder trade and business.

India and Bangladesh share a 4,096-km border along West Bengal (2,216km), Tripura (856km), Assam (263km), Meghalaya (443km) and Mizoram (318km). The two neighbours have 2,979km of land border and 1,116km of riverine boundaries.

The four north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh (520km), Manipur (398km), Nagaland (215km) and Mizoram (510km) share 1,643km of an unfenced border with Myanmar.