Two border ‘haats’ in Tripura along the Indo-Bangla border are benefiting local people through the business transactions besides becoming a meeting place for relatives who stay across the border, a state minister said in Agartala on Saturday. “Two border haats (markets) at Kamalasagar in Sipahijala district and Srinagar in South Tripura district are now popular among local residents,” State Industries and Commerce minister Tapan Chakraborty told reporters.
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“The markets are selling local products also to the people of neighbouring Bangladesh. Locals are now demanding expansion of the markets,” the minister said. Locals demanded that the markets open twice a week instead of once a week now, besides seeking more items listed for selling, Chakraborty added.
The decision of opening markets and increasing listed items are prerogatives of the central government, he said, adding the state government would soon send a proposal regarding this to the Ministry of Commerce.
Both the border haats were inaugurated last year and the central government spent slightly less than Rs five crore to set them up, besides giving the nod to set up two more such markets at Kamalpur in Dhalai and at Raghna in Dharmanagar but that did not materialise since no money was sanctioned.
The Tripura minister said border haats have also become a meeting place for relatives who stay across the border.
“Due to visa problems people could not meet their relatives earlier but the haats have become a common meeting place for them (as no visa is required to visit the haats),” Chakraborty said.
In Kamalasagar haat, Indian goods worth Rs 2.78 crore were sold to Bangladeshis and Bangladeshi goods worth Rs 4.4 lakh were sold to the Indians in the six months beginning April 1, said Shyamal Dev, General Manager of Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC).
Indian goods worth Rs 3.265 crore were sold to Bangladeshis while the latter sold goods worth Rs 1.8 crore in the Srinagar haat during the same period, he said.
Business in a haat takes place among the people living within 5-km radius of the border who sell and buy locally produced goods and crops. No local taxes are imposed on the items sold in the haats and currencies of both the countries prevail.