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New border markets opened on India-Bangladesh border


April 6, 2012 - Agartala

After several rounds of discussions, both New Delhi and Dhaka have agreed to set up four more Border haats (markets) along the India-Bangladesh border. The proposed haats would be set up at Raghna and Kamalpur in northern Tripura, Kasba on the western side and Srinagar in southern Tripura.

"People will be happy, government will earn revenues and whatever kind of trade that goes on the border now, will get official recognition. And this will be good for people, state and the government," said Jitendra Choudhury, Tripura's Industry and Commerce Minister.

One border haat has been set up at Meghalaya-Bangladesh border. The new haats would be set up within 5 km of international border on both sides and no local tax would be imposed on goods that are traded. Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh stands at Rs 249 crores and is expected to reach Rs 300 crores by next year.

"The opening up of Border haats will further improve the relations between India and Bangladesh. It will help the local traders to increase their business and improve their living standard. On the other hand it will boost the interaction between the people of both sides," said Monish Biswas, Secretary, Agartala Importers and Exporters Association.

Under the Look East Policy, the central government is keen on enhancing trade with Bangladesh to promote the Northeast as a major trading hub of Southeast Asia. The centre is working towards setting up rail links between Agartala and Chittagong and Mongla ports. This will save transit time for cargo, which now has to go through Kolkata.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh is planning to procure electricity from India and initiate joint venture power projects in the near future.

"Bangladesh wants to establish air connectivity between Agartala-Dhaka and Agartala-Chittagong. Mr Rizvi, a senior advisor to the Bangladesh Prime Minister said this during a meeting with him. I have conveyed this request to the planning commission and have also requested for the modernization of the Agartala airport," said Manik Sarkar, Tripura Chief Minister.

India's northeastern states - Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Assam - share an 856 km long border with Bangladesh.

ANI

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