India mulls over opening haats
With the increase in trade between Tripura and Bangladesh, the Indian government is considering a Tripura state's proposal for opening border markets and introducing flights on Agartala-Dhaka-Chittagong routes.
The Indian home ministry has informed Tripura government that it was considering to open two 'haats' or border markets in West and South Tripura districts, Tripura Commerce and Industries Minister Jiten Chowdhury told the media in Agartala.
"Border haats will facilitate trade in a 5km radius of the border of the two countries so that local growers can get market connectivity," he said.
"Generally no vehicles are used for marketing of local products and border guards take care of security. However, modalities are yet to be finalised," Chowdhury said.
Tripura government has sent proposals to the federal home ministry for opening border haats at six points on the 856km Indo-Bangladesh international border.
He said trade between Tripura and Bangladesh rose to Rs 300 crore in the current fiscal against Rs 163 crore last year.
India's civil aviation ministry, Chowdhury said, is also considering introduction of flights on Agartala-Dhaka-Chittagong route as the prospect of export and import business with Bangladesh was good.
He added that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in talks in January last year had agreed on giving India access to Chittagong port.
He said alignment of the 16km rail link from Agartala to Akhaura has been completed by engineers of both countries recently and the Rs 251 crore to be spent for laying railway tracks would be borne by India.
The Bangladesh government, he said, was considering finalisation of the modalities to allow India, Nepal, and Bhutan to use the seaport.