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Meghalaya asked to start Balat border haat

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, April 21 � The Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce has asked Meghalaya Government to start business at the second border haat at Balat sans formal inauguration, officials said.

The Union Minister for Trade and Commerce Anand Sharma, was supposed to inaugurate the second �border haat� (traditional market) in the North East along with his counterpart from Bangladesh.

However, due to their tight schedule, the Ministry has asked the State authorities to have business begin at the haat at their convenient time in consultation with officials from Bangladesh.

�We have received an official intimation from the Ministry to have businesses begin at the Balat border haat,� Director of Commerce and Industries W Langstang said.

While the authorities have set May 1 as the first day to begin trade at the �haat�, the Haat Management Committees (HMC) from both the countries will be meeting on Arpil 26 at the venue to finalise on all formalities before the first day of business, an official of the HMC said.

Aimed at facilitating trade, commerce and goodwill between residents across the Indo-Bangladesh International border, the Balat �border haat�, the second in Meghalaya, is also the second �haat� in NE awaiting formal inauguration after Kalaichar border haat in West Garo Hills district was inaugurated in July last year.

More than 50 villages under five km radius from the haat on both sides of the border will stand benefitted from the international haat.

Sen Kharshandi, one of the 25 Indian vendors at the haat, said he is anxious for the opening of the haat. �I am keen on exporting any items at any quantity allowed under the law at the border haat,� an excited Sen said.

Like Sen, there are at least 3,000 villagers from Bangladesh who are keen on selling their local produce like vegetables, fish and other items listed in the MoU.

Local tribal leaders have also pressed for opening of more such �haats� to improve the livelihood of the people living at the edge of the country.

The first border haat in the State at Kalaichar in West Garo Hills district has benefitted more than 10,000 border residents and has generated more than Rs 33 lakhs in terms of trade within a year of its service.

�The Government must expedite at least 40 border haats along the Indo-Bangla border to improve the economic condition of the people living on both sides of the border,� John F Kharshiing, Co-Chairman, State Planning Board and Chairman of the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya said.

Bangladesh and India have agreed to set up a number of Border Haats, which, if opened, are expected to witness bilateral trade worth USD $ 20 million every year, according to the Union Commerce Ministry.

The commodities sold in the designated Border Haats are exempted from the payment of Customs duties.

Commodities are allowed to be exchanged in the designated Border Haats in local currency or on barter basis. � PTI

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Meghalaya asked to start Balat border haat

SHILLONG, April 21 � The Union Ministry of Trade and Commerce has asked Meghalaya Government to start business at the second border haat at Balat sans formal inauguration, officials said.

The Union Minister for Trade and Commerce Anand Sharma, was supposed to inaugurate the second �border haat� (traditional market) in the North East along with his counterpart from Bangladesh.

However, due to their tight schedule, the Ministry has asked the State authorities to have business begin at the haat at their convenient time in consultation with officials from Bangladesh.

�We have received an official intimation from the Ministry to have businesses begin at the Balat border haat,� Director of Commerce and Industries W Langstang said.

While the authorities have set May 1 as the first day to begin trade at the �haat�, the Haat Management Committees (HMC) from both the countries will be meeting on Arpil 26 at the venue to finalise on all formalities before the first day of business, an official of the HMC said.

Aimed at facilitating trade, commerce and goodwill between residents across the Indo-Bangladesh International border, the Balat �border haat�, the second in Meghalaya, is also the second �haat� in NE awaiting formal inauguration after Kalaichar border haat in West Garo Hills district was inaugurated in July last year.

More than 50 villages under five km radius from the haat on both sides of the border will stand benefitted from the international haat.

Sen Kharshandi, one of the 25 Indian vendors at the haat, said he is anxious for the opening of the haat. �I am keen on exporting any items at any quantity allowed under the law at the border haat,� an excited Sen said.

Like Sen, there are at least 3,000 villagers from Bangladesh who are keen on selling their local produce like vegetables, fish and other items listed in the MoU.

Local tribal leaders have also pressed for opening of more such �haats� to improve the livelihood of the people living at the edge of the country.

The first border haat in the State at Kalaichar in West Garo Hills district has benefitted more than 10,000 border residents and has generated more than Rs 33 lakhs in terms of trade within a year of its service.

�The Government must expedite at least 40 border haats along the Indo-Bangla border to improve the economic condition of the people living on both sides of the border,� John F Kharshiing, Co-Chairman, State Planning Board and Chairman of the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya said.

Bangladesh and India have agreed to set up a number of Border Haats, which, if opened, are expected to witness bilateral trade worth USD $ 20 million every year, according to the Union Commerce Ministry.

The commodities sold in the designated Border Haats are exempted from the payment of Customs duties.

Commodities are allowed to be exchanged in the designated Border Haats in local currency or on barter basis. � PTI