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Myanmar keen to set up border haat: Indian official

IANS | Agartala |

Myanmar is keen to set up a border 'haat' (market) on its border with India and an official team from the neighbouring country visited Kasba market in Tripura to study its functioning, an Indian official said here on Wednesday.

The move comes in the wake of the successful operation of such markets along India's border with Bangladesh.

"A five-member team led by Myanmar's Ministry of Labour Affairs Director Soe Paing Myint and Indian officials visited on Tuesday the Kasba border 'haat' in western Tripura on the India-Bangladesh border," a Tripura Industries and Commerce Department official said.

Four Northeastern Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh (520 km), Manipur (398 km), Nagaland (215 km) and Mizoram (510 km) share a 1,643-km unfenced border with Myanmar.

At present, a trading point exists in Moreh along Myanmar territory in Chandel district of Manipur.

"The Myanmarese officials indicated their government is keen to set up such border markets to ensure the socio-economic development of people living on both sides of the international border," the official added.

Indian External Affairs Ministry's Under Secretary (Myanmar) Tavishi Behal, and Union Commerce Ministry Under Secretaries Muthu Kumar and Usha Sreenivasan accompanied the Myanmar officials on the visit.

The visiting team was briefed by Kasba Border Haat Committee Chairman and Sepahijala's Additional District Magistrate Manik Lal Das and other officials about its functioning, besides security and financial aspects.

The officials later visited the Akhaura Integrated Checkpost, the second largest trading point after Benapole-Petrapole checkpost along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.

Border 'haats' have been set up at Kalaichar-Baliamari and Balat-Dalora on the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, and at Kasba in western Tripura and Srinagar in southern Tripura. 

The border 'haats' are allowed to sell local agricultural and horticultural products, spices, minor forest products (excluding timber), wet and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items.

The 'haats' are set up within five km on each side of the international border.

Tripura Industry and Commerce Department director V G Genner said the Bangladesh and Indian governments have decided to set up more such markets along areas in four northeastern states.

India shares a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh through Tripura (856 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Mizoram (318 km) and Assam (263 km).