Minister says pilot border haats to be launched soon | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 02, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 02, 2010

Minister says pilot border haats to be launched soon

Border haat, a common marketplace for both Bangladeshis and Indians, is set to launch within the next few months on pilot basis, said Commerce Minister Faruk Khan yesterday.
"Initially, we're going to start such haats in some areas on pilot basis to examine the benefits of the idea," said the minister, adding: "Our goal is to develop livelihood of the poor living adjacent to the border areas through the trading spot."
"If it brings benefit, we'll expand the concept to some other areas," Khan said.
Two spots -- Sunamganj and Kurigram -- are under consideration to set up haat, usually a weekly trading place. The haat was scheduled to launch on April 14 or Pahela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla new year.
The two countries had decided to set up border haats during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India early this year.
Later, the ministries of commerce of the two neighboring nations chalked out a deal on how the common market will be operational.
However the launch of haat was delayed, as some issues, including taxation and transaction system, are yet to be resolved. As per the draft proposal agreed upon, no tax will be imposed on such border trade.
However, Dhaka, as per a decision reached at a recent meeting at the Prime Minister's Office with Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman in the chair, will contact Delhi again to make it sure that levies are not imposed on such border trade.
When asked, the commerce minister said," We're at the final stage to launch the haat.”
The haats will be set up within five kilometres of the border areas, as per the draft proposal. The items produced within 10 kilometres of an area bordering the two countries will be traded in the haat.
Officials at the commerce ministry said the central banks of the two countries are going to introduce a common transaction system so that no one can use the haat transaction for smuggling purposes. "Transaction issue is still pending. But it will be solved soon," said a high official.
A committee, headed by Deputy Commissioner of the area concerned and represented by border security forces of the two countries, will manage the haat.

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