Bangladesh and India today will open a third weekly border market or “haat”, this time at the convergence of Feni and Tripura, aiming to boost local trade and contact.
Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and India's Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran are scheduled to attend the opening.
Situated bordering Chhagalnaiya and Srinagar, about 140 kilometres each from Purba Madhugram and Agartala, the haat will sit from 10:00am to 4:00pm for people living within a five-kilometre radius.
Initially, 16 locally produced goods have been short-listed, including agricultural and horticultural crops, spices, minor forest products excluding timber, fish and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handlooms and handicraft items.
Each trader is restricted to transactions worth US $100 per day, no local tax would be imposed and both currencies would prevail.
Tripura government sources said the infrastructure, including the haat and roads on their side, was built a couple of months ago costing Rs 2.4 crore.
A festive mood was in the air as thousands of people on both sides have long been anticipating it, they said.
“The fourth border haat...is under construction,” Pankaj told journalists after meeting Tofail at the ministry in the capital yesterday.
This haat, situated bordering Tarapur Kashba in Brahmanbaria and Kamlasagar of Tripura, will be ready very soon, stated Bangladesh foreign ministry officials and the Indian high commission.
The haat opening today is the first for Tripura. Of the existing two, one was opened where Baliamari under Rajibpur upazila of Kurigram meets Kalaichar in Meghalaya's West Garo Hills district, on July 23, 2011.
In the same year the other haat was opened where Lauwaghar (Dalora) in Sunamganj faces Meghalaya's Balat in East Khasi Hills district.
The haats are being set up under a Memorandum of Understanding on border haats and trade signed on October 23, 2010.
There was a demand for over 100 haats along the 856-kilometre border with Tripura, Indian Lok Sabha member Jitendra Chaudhury told a recent seminar on India-Bangladesh relations.
Official sources say the Meghalaya government proposed setting up 22 haats across its 443-kilometre border.
Diplomatic sources said India intended to set up 70 border markets in phases and after discussion with Dhaka, identified 70 locations along four states.
Of the 70, 35 have been proposed along the 2,217-kilometre border with West Bengal, followed by 22 along Meghalaya, five along Tripura and four along the 262-kilometre border with Assam.