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India, Bangladesh to monitor goods transportation

By The Assam Tribune

Shillong, May 12 (IANS): Four dry ports each in India and Bangladesh will be covered under Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to monitor the transportation of goods into both countries, an official said here on Wednesday.

"A common format has been agreed upon to implement the SOP in four ports to simplify the process of transportation of goods on either side in both the countries," India's North East Customs Commissioner SR Baruah told IANS after the joint group of customs meeting here on Wednesday.

He said both sides have agreed to implement the SOP in four ports -- Dawki-Tamabil (in Meghalaya and in Bangladesh's Sylhet), Agartala-Akhaura (Tripura-Brahamanbaria), Gausapara-Gobrakura (Meghalaya-Dhaka) and Srimantapur-Bibir Bazar (Tripura-Comilla) -- on a pilot basis.

Under the SOPs, all goods trucks will have a prescribed form of the customs departments, bearing all information that the customs officials need to release the products they are carrying, he said.

"The SOP will help customs officials of both countries to check duty evasion and expedite unloading of imported goods at the land ports," Baruah added.

Asked why such special procedures are required when relations between the two countries are at their best, Baruah said: "If it were not for our friendly relations, we would have insisted that drivers and helpers apply for visas only to unload goods on each side of the border."

On the re-opening of border haats (markets), Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Bangladesh's Commissioner of Customs (Dhaka North) said the matter is being examined by the Ministry of Commerce there. "However, a border haat will be set up at Balat-Narayantala (Meghalaya-Sunamganj) on a pilot basis," Hossain said.

India and Bangladesh had decided to set up the haats along the international border in the northeast to boost local business and trade between the two neighbours. The border haat is expected to be functional by June to revive this historic trade tie.

These markets will operate within 1.5 km radius of both sides of the border under close supervision of border guards and customs officials of both the countries.

The commodities to be traded here would include locally produced agriculture and horticulture products, spices, minor forest products excluding timber, fresh and dry fish, dairy, fishery and poultry products, products of cottage industries, wooden furniture and cane products, handloom and handicraft items besides materials useful for farmers.

These border haats, which were closed down after partition, resumed after a few years but stopped again after the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Customs officials protest visa delay:

Bangladesh Customs officials on Wednesday lodged a protest with their Indian counterparts over the delay in issuing visa to those invited to a meeting in Meghalaya.

The Bangladeshi delegation made the protest during the third coordination joint group of customs officials from both countries here Wednesday.

Bangladesh Commissioner Customs Mohammad Saiful Islam said that while they had applied for visa in April, it was issued only May 3 and 5. "We are being humiliated. We could not even prepare points and agendas for the meeting in a proper way," the official said.

Baruah apologized to the Bangladeshi officials.

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India, Bangladesh to monitor goods transportation

Shillong, May 12 (IANS): Four dry ports each in India and Bangladesh will be covered under Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to monitor the transportation of goods into both countries, an official said here on Wednesday.

"A common format has been agreed upon to implement the SOP in four ports to simplify the process of transportation of goods on either side in both the countries," India's North East Customs Commissioner SR Baruah told IANS after the joint group of customs meeting here on Wednesday.

He said both sides have agreed to implement the SOP in four ports -- Dawki-Tamabil (in Meghalaya and in Bangladesh's Sylhet), Agartala-Akhaura (Tripura-Brahamanbaria), Gausapara-Gobrakura (Meghalaya-Dhaka) and Srimantapur-Bibir Bazar (Tripura-Comilla) -- on a pilot basis.

Under the SOPs, all goods trucks will have a prescribed form of the customs departments, bearing all information that the customs officials need to release the products they are carrying, he said.

"The SOP will help customs officials of both countries to check duty evasion and expedite unloading of imported goods at the land ports," Baruah added.

Asked why such special procedures are required when relations between the two countries are at their best, Baruah said: "If it were not for our friendly relations, we would have insisted that drivers and helpers apply for visas only to unload goods on each side of the border."

On the re-opening of border haats (markets), Mohammad Enayet Hossain, Bangladesh's Commissioner of Customs (Dhaka North) said the matter is being examined by the Ministry of Commerce there. "However, a border haat will be set up at Balat-Narayantala (Meghalaya-Sunamganj) on a pilot basis," Hossain said.

India and Bangladesh had decided to set up the haats along the international border in the northeast to boost local business and trade between the two neighbours. The border haat is expected to be functional by June to revive this historic trade tie.

These markets will operate within 1.5 km radius of both sides of the border under close supervision of border guards and customs officials of both the countries.

The commodities to be traded here would include locally produced agriculture and horticulture products, spices, minor forest products excluding timber, fresh and dry fish, dairy, fishery and poultry products, products of cottage industries, wooden furniture and cane products, handloom and handicraft items besides materials useful for farmers.

These border haats, which were closed down after partition, resumed after a few years but stopped again after the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Customs officials protest visa delay:

Bangladesh Customs officials on Wednesday lodged a protest with their Indian counterparts over the delay in issuing visa to those invited to a meeting in Meghalaya.

The Bangladeshi delegation made the protest during the third coordination joint group of customs officials from both countries here Wednesday.

Bangladesh Commissioner Customs Mohammad Saiful Islam said that while they had applied for visa in April, it was issued only May 3 and 5. "We are being humiliated. We could not even prepare points and agendas for the meeting in a proper way," the official said.

Baruah apologized to the Bangladeshi officials.