TURA: In an attempt to improve trade conditions at Kalaichar Border Haat, a joint meeting was convened after 3 and half years between Ramkumar S. Deputy Commissioner, South West Garo Hills, India, Sultana Pervin, Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate, Kurigram, Bangladesh and Border Haat Management committee from both the countries at Kalaichar Border Haat. Among the various officials present in the meeting were Rituraj Ravi, Superintendent of Police, Ampati; M K Marak, Border Development Officer, Zikzak; S. P Marak, Border Area Development Officer, Kalaichar and D F R Marak, General Manager, DCIC representing India. Officials representing Bangladesh were Md. Merhajul Alam, Superintendent of Police, Kurigram; Lt. Col. S.M Azad, 35 BGB Bn, Jamalpur and Jiluja Sultana, Additional District Magistrate, Kurigram.
The Common agenda of the meeting from both the countries were, matters related to hygiene, sanitation and maintenance of Haat premises and to review on matters discussed on 4th April, 2016 Joint Border Haat Management Committee.
Besides this, other agendas from Indian side were “to review steps taken for construction of Common Facility Building; to discuss on the amendment of MOU dated 8/04/2017 between India and Bangladesh; Exchange of locally produced items charts and also other matters related to provision of water supply, repairing of existing toilets etc”.
The other agendas from Bangladesh’s side were “construction of temporary shelter in Border Haat Premises; Expansion of selling products and border haat time to twice a week and list of vendors and vendees of both sides and selling system in haat premises”.
It was decided that Border haat market which was opened only on Wednesday would be opened for two days, i.e Monday and Wednesday from 7th Oct., 2019, from 10 am to 3pm IST. Border Haat committee is to maintain the area including its sanitation and hygiene. Modular Toilets would be installed inside the borders of both the countries. Flooring of the market shed would be done by the haat committee members from both the countries. It was also decided that there would be joint meeting every six months regarding Border haat in order to strengthen trade relationship between both the countries.
Addressing the meeting, Sultana Pervin expressed that it has been a demand for this meeting from their side for a long time now. “Bangladesh and India have maintained healthy relationship all these years and we are grateful to India for helping us to achieve Independence. Border Haat is a unique area and in order to improve business with India, we have to sit together and try to solve problems that occur. It may not be solved overnight but with discussions both countries can jointly minimize problems being faced by locals in the border area”, she expressed. She also conveyed that it is time to implement discussions as implementation after discussion is even more important.
As it was understood from earlier MOU that each vendee should have limited purchase of only $200/day, Bangladesh team inquired if any receipt is provided to the traders from Indian side as to give them the idea about the rates of the goods being purchased. To this, Ramkumar S replied that it is the duty of the customs officials in our country to check such issues related to goods as it is upon them to fix the rate as per the market value of the country and also issue a receipt.
Later, expressing his gratitude to Bangladesh team, Ramkumar S announced that idea of Border Haat itself is to function without receipts and give business opportunities to locals in border area. “This area is one of the poorest areas in the state and such opportunities have reduced militancy issue in the area restoring peace after years”, he stated.
The vendees from Indian side have expressed their dissatisfaction as they are not receiving enough products from Bangladesh to buy. The Vendees from India demanded more products like Melamine, textile and plastic RFL products to which the Bangladesh team agreed to meet to their demands.