India and Bangladesh authorities have identified locations for three additional Border Haats along the Tripura-Bangla frontiers at a joint DM-DC level meeting of the two countries held here on Wednesday. These three Border Haats will be functional in addition to two border Haats already operational at Kamalasagar of Sipahijala district and Srinagar in South district.
Border Haats are a unique mode of duty-free trading space between the two countries where local products are sold to people living within a radius of 5 Km of the Haat. These were conceptualised to promote the wellbeing of people from remote areas across borders of these two countries by establishing a traditional market of local products among them.
The meeting was headed by West Tripura District magistrate Dr. Sandeep Mahatme from the Indian side and Hayat-Ud-Dowlla, deputy commissioner of Brahmanbaria district from the Bangladesh. District authorities of Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) joined the meeting as well.
“The decisions of setting up of three border haats were taken by ministries of both the countries earlier. We have identified three locations in Tripura — Paharmura of Khowai district, Jagarampur of Sepahijala district and Bamutia of West District. The reports will be submitted to respective higher authorities for the decision,” Mahatme said.
Representatives of both the countries said that India and Bangladesh share cordial relations with each other and the border haats would enhance their bond.
In October last year, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had announced that two more border haats have been approved for launch at Dharmanagar and Kamalpur in North and Dhalai districts.
On drug trafficking across the border, the official said seizures of cannabis and contraband pharmaceutical drugs like phensidyle have come down significantly since last year while yaba tablets or meth is being recovered in larger quantities, indicating a huge leap in smuggling.
Both countries are working together to prevent cross border drug smuggling, the officials said.
The meeting also involved discussions on the status of Agartala-Akhaura railway link, fencing in unfenced patches of Indo-Bangla border and new locations for setting up Integrated Check Posts (ICP).
Tripura is expecting to experience international rail connectivity between Agartala city and Akhaura in Bangladesh soon. The project, which was conceptualised in 2010, was scheduled to be completed early this year. The Indo-Bangla meet granted an extension for it till September.
The 15.054 Km long Agartala-Akhaura rail project in West Tripura district is being constructed with an estimated expenditure of Rs 968 crores. It would connect Akhaura in Bangladesh with Tripura’s capital city Agartala through Nischintapur in the Indo-Bangla border.
Tripura shares an 856 km long international border with Bangladesh, 67 km of which is still unfenced in different patches, rendering the state vulnerable to chances of infiltration and illegal migration.
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