SHILLONG, Sept 9 (PTI): The Meghalaya government is planning to appeal to the Centre to facilitate the increase of trading points along the India-Bangladesh border for the benefit of the people living at the eastern edge of the country, an official said.
Currently, there are 10 land custom stations in the state for import and export of commodities with the neighbouring country.
“The state’s Commerce and Industries Department is preparing a draft proposal addressed to the central government, seeking parleys between the officials of the two countries for increase of trade channels along the border,” a senior official of the industries department told PTI.
The proposal will be in line with the state’s ‘Look South’ policy, which is aimed at boosting Meghalaya’s economy through trade with Bangladesh, he said.
“Last week, Meghalaya Commerce and Industries Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar met a group of traders to solicit their opinions and inform them about the proposal, which is still under consideration of the state,” the official stated.
Dhar said the plan, if realized, will adequately improve the livelihood of people living in the border areas.
“We are keen to open more import-export points along the India-Bangladesh border,” he said.
The state had earlier proposed setting up of 22 border haats during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).
“The slow progress of paper works on both sides is a reason why the border haat plan was never executed,” the commerce and industries department official said.
The state, endowed with natural resources, also offers excellent potential for export for agro-horticulture products, handloom and handicrafts, he said.
“As the state faces location disadvantages and infrastructure at many levels is not up to the mark, bilateral trade has always suffered a setback,” he maintained.
Echoing similar sentiments, M Lyngdoh, a limestone exporter, said all 10 land custom stations in the state are in bad shape.
“If measures are not taken to improve the infrastructure at these custom stations, international trade will suffer in the days to come,” he added.