TURA, July 23 � Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Anand Sharma and Md Faruk Khan, Bangladesh Commerce Minister jointly inaugurated Meghalaya�s first border haat at Kalaichar in West Garo Hills district on Saturday morning.
A colorful welcome was accorded to both the ministers and Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma on their arrival at Kalaichar border for inauguration of the haat with a very large number of onlookers from Bangladesh perched on river boats eagerly witnessing the historic event.
Sharma said the demand for opening of the border haats had been there for a very long time because this was the way trading took place for centuries. He showered laurels on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for their commitment to see the opening of border trade.
�Border trade was a part of our culture, tradition and heritage. It was ruptured for reasons known but today there is a firm commitment to elevate the relationship to a higher level by both countries,� said Sharma much to the applause of the crowds.
The Union Minister also announced more border haats would be opened in Meghalaya with the next joint inauguration between India and Bangladesh expected to take place in Khasi Hills in October, this year.
Bangladesh Commerce Minister Muhammad Faruk Khan termed today�s inauguration as a historic moment that would not only improve the economy of the people living on both sides of the border but also strengthen the friendship of the two neighbours.
�Both our governments, Bangladesh and India, are making efforts to generate economic extremity and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh�s scheduled visit to our country this year will boost trade and commerce of both the nations,� noted Khan.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said the opening of border trade would lead to great transformation in the lives of the people and resources available in the north-eastern part of this country can be tapped properly with the right kind of market through Bangladesh.
Dr Sangma also pointed out that Chittagong port in Bangladesh, which is approximately seven hours journey by road from Meghalaya border, could play an important role in export of trade thereby boosting the State�s revenue.