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3rd border haat opens today. More border haats under process

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Staff Reporter A border haat along Bangladesh-India border will be inaugurated today which is expected to expedite border trade benefiting people living along the border. The new border haat is located at Srinagar, Tripura, India and Purba Madhugram, Feni district of Bangladesh. This is the third Bangladesh-India border haat. Opening of this border haat will herald a new chapter of cooperation in Bangladesh-India bilateral trade, said a senior official at the Commerce Ministry on Monday adding that “This haat is a symbol of our friendship”. Bangladesh thinks border haats are contributing to the socioeconomic development of the people of the remote borders of the two countries and also reducing informal trade along the border. Both countries are in the process of setting seven more border haats along the Tripura and Meghalaya border. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Commerce and Industry, India Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief Minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar and Indian High Commission in Dhaka Pankaj Saran and several other dignitaries of both Bangladesh and India will attend the inaugural ceremony. The other two border haats are at Kalaichar (India) - Baliamari (Bangladesh) and at Balat (India) - Dolora (Bangladesh) on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border. Setting up of the fourth border haat at Kamlasagar (Tripura) -Tarapur Kashba (Brahmanbaria district) is in progress. The haat will remain open only for one day every week from 10:00am to 4:00pm. People living within 5-kilometre radius of the haat will be allowed to sell and buy locally produced goods. During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India on January 10-13 January 2010, a joint communiqué was issued. It was decided that Border haats shall be established on a pilot basis in selected areas along the border of the two countries to allow trade in specific products. The commodities sold here will be free of duty, while traders can use Bangladeshi Taka and Indian Rupees and/or barter system for the transaction. The estimated value of such purchases shall not exceed respective local currency equivalent of $100 for any particular day. Locally produced vegetables, fruits, fruit juice, eggs, dry fishes, chickens, wooden furniture, soap, potato, processed foods, spices, bamboo, bamboo grass and broomstick, home textiles, garments and melamine products, small agricultural tools like plough, axe, spade and chisel etc will be traded in the border hatt. People within five-kilometre radius of the haat will be allowed to enter the market on production of identity card. He said the border haat will make the border villages on both sides more prosperous through improved market access for the locally produced goods. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Border Haats and Border Trade along the India-Bangladesh border was signed on October 23, 2010, according to Indian High Commission in Dhaka. The MoU enables traders in border communities of both India and Bangladesh to trade in local produce. The MoU permits each trader to transact business worth US $ 100 a day.