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Sunday, July 24, 2011
SOUTH ASIA: India, Bangladesh revive border ‘haat'!
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SUSHANTA TALUKDAR / The Hindu / KALAICHAR (INDIA-BANGLADESH BORDER), July 23, 2011.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma (centre) welcomes his Bangladesh counterpart Muhammad Faruk Khan as Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma (right) looks on, at the inauguration of the border 'haat' at Kalaichar in Meghalaya on Saturday. Photo: Ritu Raj Konwar - The Hindu.
The trading post will help people from both sides sell their locally produced goods
India and Bangladesh opened their first border ‘haat,' or a common marketplace, here on Saturday, reviving the traditional border trade after nearly 40 years.
The ‘haat' is 60 km from Tura, the headquarters of Meghalaya's West Garo Hills district, while Kurigram district of Bangladesh is located just across the river Jinjiram, which flows along the zero line of the border beyond the barbed wire fence on the Indian side.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and his Bangladeshi counterpart Muhammad Faruk Khan inaugurated the ‘haat' in the presence of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M. Sangma, elected representatives of the two countries and officers of India's Border Security Force and the Border Guards of Bangladesh.
The two Ministers said their governments were committed to strengthening economic ties and opening more such facilities, based on the experience of this revived ‘haat.' The Bangladeshi delegation was accorded a warm welcome when it crossed a bridge over the river and arrived at the ‘haat.'
Market sheds have been constructed to facilitate trade by 25 vendors from each side, who have been identified and trained by both countries to sell their produce. Three hundred people from each side will also be allowed to visit the ‘haat' with passes. The market will work every Wednesday, from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. in the summer and 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. in the winter. Both Indian and Bangladeshi currencies will be accepted by the traders, who will exchange them in banks working in the two border districts. The ‘haats' in these areas were shut down during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971.