GUWAHATI, June 27 - Two foreign post offices, one in Guwahati and the other at Shillong, are coming up in the Northeast adding to a host of facilities developed in the region to boost international trade.
However, despite the facilities, figures show that international trade is yet to pick up in the region, Chief Commissioner of Customs (Kolkata Zone) SR Baruah admitted here today.
Baruah was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a seminar on import and export in the Northeast organised by the Commissioner of Customs (NER) and National Academy of Customs Indirect Taxes & Narcotics (NACIN).
One of the key reasons for the sluggish trade growth is lack of awareness about the various facilities and government schemes.
�Therefore there is a need to interact more. Trade bodies, government agencies and other stakeholders need to sit more often. A lot of handholding is required. I must also admit that there are certain problems which are being faced by the traders and they need to be addressed by different agencies as well,� Baruah said.
The volume of export from the Northeast has gone down from Rs 1,706.09 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 1,649.90 crore in 2018-19. Imports on the other hand rose from Rs 665.49 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 1174.57 crore in the four years. There are 35 land customs stations in the Northeast, one inland cargo depot (Amingaon) besides the LGBI international airport for cargo, and four border haats for local level cross-border trade.
The senior customs official rued that from the Amingaon ICD only tea export was taking place, though it was set up 30 years back.
A help centre is being opened at the customs office in Guwahati which will be a single window point for any trade-related query.
�The foreign post offices in Guwahati and Shillong will come up shortly. Search is on for suitable buildings. These will be additional facilities available for traders,� Baruah said, adding that till now the foreign parcels and letters are being cleared from Kolkata.