Agartala, Dec 31 (IANS) The first border market, locally called ‘haat’, in Tripura and the third along the India-Bangladesh frontier is likely to be inaugurated Jan 13, an official said here.
Two ‘border haats’ were set up in 2012 at Meghalaya’s Kalaichar (India)-Baliamari (Bangladesh) and Dalora (Bangladesh)-Balat (India).
The ‘border haats’ are allowed to sell agricultural and horticultural products, spices, minor forest products (excluding timber), fresh and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items.
“Tripura’s first ‘border haat’ is likely to be inaugurated Jan 13. The work for setting up of necessary infrastructure was completed two months back and now it is ready to be opened,” Pravin L. Agrawal, industry and commerce department director and special secretary, told IANS.
He said: “(Commerce and Industry Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman and a Bangladesh minister would attend the inaugural ceremony at Srinagar (140 km from Agartala). The name of the Bangladesh minister is yet to be communicated.”
He said the work on another ‘border haat’ at Kamalasagar in Tripura is on and this would be ready within a month.
According to a union home ministry report, India intends to set up 70 border markets along its border with Bangladesh.
“India, in consultation with the Bangladesh government and respective state governments, has identified 70 locations in five border states to set up ‘haats’ in a phased manner,” said the report, made available to IANS.
The governments of four northeastern states have also proposed to set up 15 ‘border haats’ along the India-Myanmar border to develop trans-border trade and business.
The report said: “Of the 70 ‘border haats’, 35 have been proposed along the border with West Bengal, followed by 22 along Meghalaya border, five in Tripura and four in Assam.”
Four locations to set up ‘haats’ along the Mizoram border with Bangladesh have also been identified.
“BSF (Border Security Force) authorities have also been involved in identifying the locations to set up the ‘haats’ along the Bangladesh border,” it said.
A senior official of the development of northeastern region ministry said the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram – which share 1,643-km-long border with Myanmar – have also suggested setting up 15 ‘haats’ along the India-Myanmar border.
“The Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh governments have suggested four ‘border haats’ each along the international border with Myanmar while the Manipur government wanted four such markets,” the official told IANS.
Each ‘border haat’ needs Rs.2.20 crore to Rs.2.45 crore to be set up. The entire expenditure will be borne by the central commerce and industry ministry.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at [email protected])