India, Bangladesh open third border ‘haat’

20 Jan 2015


On January 14, 2014 India and Bangladesh inaugurated the third border ‘haat’ (weekly market) in Srinagar – Purba on the Tripura-Bangladesh border to widen and enhance the scope of border trade between the two countries. This is the first border haat for Tripura which shares 865 km border with Bangladesh. Work on another border haat at Kamalasagar in western Tripura is on and would be ready shortly.

 India’s Minister of State for Commerce and Industries, Nirmala Sitharaman, inaugurated the border haat along with Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed in presence of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran was present on the occasion along with other dignitaries of both the countries.


In her speech at the inaugural function Sitharaman said that India was keen on further strengthening economic ties with Bangladesh. “India seriously wants to further reinforce trade and economy and people-to-people relations and all other mutual issues with Bangladesh”, she said. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already announced to convert the ‘Look East Policy’ to Act East Policy’ for better relations and further all-round development of the north-eastern region after closely connecting the region with the South Asian countries”. Sitharaman added that with the opening of border haat, the economic condition of the people living near the border in both the countries would improve.


Speaking on the occasion Bangladeshi Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said “This haat is a symbol of India-Bangladesh friendship. The commodities sold at the haat will be free of duty, while traders can use Bangladeshi Taka or Indian Rupee or a barter system for transaction”. He also hoped that the haat will provide a common market place for people along the border and will increase the volume of trade between the two countries.


The haat will cater to the needs of people living within 5 km radius on both side of the border. Sixteen locally produced goods have been initially shortlisted which include agricultural and horticultural crops, spices, poultry and dairy products, cottage industry items, furniture items, and handicrafts and handlooms.

Border haat will not only increase the volume of bilateral trade but also boost people-to-people contacts between the two countries.


Officials of India and Bangladesh undertook a joint study in 2012 to examine the infrastructure for trade and business along the border and suggest measures to boost cross-border trade. After examining the existing infrastructure along both sides of the border, they suggested measures for improving and expanding border infrastructure, including roads and setting up border haat.


Tripura’s Industries and Commerce Department Director and Special Secretary PL Agrawal revealed that during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi (Jan 10-13, 2010), India and Bangladesh decided to explore possibilities of setting up border haat to boost local trade and ‘people-to-people contact’. Accordingly, border haat was established under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two countries. The MoU enables traders in communities of both India and Bangladesh to trade in local produce without any duty.


Two border haat were earlier set up on Meghalaya-Bangladesh border – Kalaichar (India)-Baliamari (Bangladesh) and Dalora (Bangladesh)-Balat (India) in 2012.


While Tripura is keen on opening more border ‘haat’, response of Bangladesh is also very positive in this regard.


India is keen to set up 70 border haat along its borders with Bangladesh. Of these 35 have been proposed along the borders with West Bengal, followed by 22 along Meghalaya border, 5 in Tripura, 4 in Mizoram and 4 in Assam.

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