Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma for setting up more ‘haats’ along Indo- Bangla border

Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma for setting up more ‘haats’ along Indo- Bangla border

In this handout photograph taken and released by The Indian Press Information Bureau (PIB) on June 3, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Chief Minister of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma during a meeting in New Delhi on June 3, 2015.

NEW DELHI: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today strongly pitched for setting up more border ‘haats’ or markets along the Indo-Bangla border to encourage trade and commerce between the two countries.

Sangma also hoped that the Prime Minister would discuss with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina the possibility of jointly developing road networks so that the land-locked Northeastern states could use Bangladesh’s Chittagong port for exports.

“The Meghalaya government has plans to set up 22 border haats along the Indo-Bangladesh border to encourage trade and commerce and people-to-people contact. Currently, we have just two border haats. The Union Commerce Ministry must take initiatives to set up more border haats along the international border,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told PTI here.

Prime Minister Modi and Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina will jointly inaugurate a border haat at Kamalasagar in Tripura’s Sipahijala district, which borders Brahmanbaria district of Bangladesh, this weekend.

The ‘haat’ would be jointly inaugurated through video conferencing from Dhaka during Modi’s two-day visit to Bangladesh beginning June 6.

Two border haats were set up in 2012 on the Meghalaya sector of Indo-Bangladesh border at Kalaichar (India), Baliamari (Bangladesh) and at Balat (India), Dalora (Bangladesh).

Around 15-16 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 are allowed to sell in the border haats, where people of both the countries can participate in trading on designated days and time every week.

Sangma advocated jointly developing road networks of India and Bangladesh so that the Chittagong port in the neighbouring country could be used by the Northeastern states for export of various products.

“I hope that the Prime Minister will take up the issue with his Bangladesh counterpart,” he said.

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 1,117 km of riverine boundaries.

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