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India, Bangladesh border trade to increase manifold by 2017

Agartala, Sept 23 (ANI): The border trade between India and Bangladesh through Tripura is expected to touch Rs 500 crore in the next two to three years, said a top official of the state industry.

“Target is to increase the border trade to Rs 500 crores by 2016 to 2017 and it is quite possible with coming up of new industries from Bangladesh,” said P L Agrawal, Director of Industries department of Tripura, adding, “In 1994 it was zero, Rs 340 crore in 2012-13, last year in 2013-14 which was election year trade reduced to around Rs 240 crores, entire trade is import and balance of trade is in favour of Bangladesh.”

He informed that according to the Business Intelligence and Statistics of Kolkata there is around Rs 10 crore worth of exports from Tripura which include mainly handicraft materials, bamboo and silk by ships through Kolkata and Mumbai port.

Agrawal assured that by next month one of the two border haats in Tripura will be operating and will increase Indo-Bangladesh official trade.

Both the countries in principle have accepted the need for opening up of more such border haats along the 4096 km border they share.

“Border haat cater to the masses on both side of the border and help people to sell products presuming that there is no border and roughly the business is expected to be around Rs 1 million per week from one centre. Border haat will be there one particular day every week. At present two border haats are coming up and two more are in the pipeline. The state government on the basis of the response is keen to increase the number. Response of Bangladesh is very positive and they are keen to open the border haats,” said Agrawal.

He also informed that Bangladesh has agreed to allow India to use its river and sea port.

“There have been talks on opening of the Chittagong and Ashuganj ports and both sides are positive but bilateral issues take time as every matter has to go through clearance of both government’s home and external affairs ministries,” said the Director of Industries, department of Tripura adding that for better connectivity a rail link between Agartala and Akhaura is coming up and for which survey works is going on in Bangladesh to identify land for the same.

According to Agrawal, already two Bangladeshi industries have invested in Tripura and others are in the pipeline as it is the most peaceful state in the region besides its proximity to all major cities in Bangladesh and thus turning the state into a business hub and gateway to northeast India. (ANI)