2 new border haats to be set up along BD-Tripura border

The federal Indian government has given its approval to Tripura state government's proposal for setting up a second Integrated Check Post (ICP) along the border with Bangladesh and two new border 'haats' in the state to improve trade and bilateral relations with the neighbouring country, an official said on Tuesday.

The decision was taken during an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by the Secretary, Border Management, in the Indian Home Ministry, here on Monday, Special Secretary, Industries and Commerce of Tripura, Kiran Gitye, who attended the meeting, said. The Land Port Authority of India (LPI) would build the ICP at Sabroom sub-division in South Tripura and this will be the second ICP along the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura after the Akhaura ICP in Agartala which was set up in 2013.

Tripuras Industries and Commerce Department has already identified 49 acres, including 9 acres of government land, for setting up the ICP at Sabroom. The ICP project would be directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) due to its geo-political importance, Gitye said. The Tripura government had sent the ICP proposal to the Indian Home Ministry for linking the bridge over river Feni with Chittagong division in 2016. The Chittagong port, considered one of the best ports in South-East Asia, is about 70 km from the bridge that connects Tripura with Bangladesh.

Gitye said the two new border 'haats' would be set up at Raghna in North Tripura district bordering Sylhet district and Ghosh Khamar in South Tripura district bordering Feni district of Bangladesh. The first border 'haat' was set up at Srinagar in Tripura’s Sabroom in January, 2015 and the second at Kamalasagar in Sipahijala district in June, 2015.

Business is conducted at the 'haats' once a week with people living within 5 km radius of the border selling and buying locally produced goods and crops. No local taxes on the products are collected from the items sold in the 'haats'. Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguli Das met Tripura Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb in Agartala on Monday and discussed issues such as trade and commerce and connectivity between India and Bangladesh. "We discussed how to increase trade and commerce between India and Bangladesh and improve connectivity between Bangladesh and Tripura," Ganguly told reporters on Monday.