Trade between Bangladesh and the northeastern states of India has been increasing every year, and the volume of trade this fiscal is expected to be around Rs500 crore with Tripura alone, a minister said here on Monday.
"Trade between Bangladesh and Tripura alone has increased from Rs4.12 crore in 1995-1996 to Rs330.60 crore in the last financial year. During the current fiscal (2012-13), the trade is expected to increase to Rs500 crore," Tripura Commerce and Industries Minister Jitendra Chowdhury told reporters.
He said: "Trade between Bangladesh and other northeastern states, including Meghalaya, has also been increasing every year."
Bangladesh and India have agreed to set up a number of 'Border Haats' (border markets) along the boundaries, which, if opened, are expected to witness bilateral trade worth $20 million every year.
India and Bangladesh set up the first such 'Border Haat' at Kalaichar in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya last year.
Dhaka and New Delhi are keen to set up eight more border markets along the India-Bangladesh border in the northeastern states.
"The Bangladesh government has already agreed to India's proposal to set up four border haats along the border with Tripura. Study is on to set up four more border haats in Mizoram," a Bangladesh government official said.
The Tripura commerce and industries minister said that of the proposed four border markets along the Bangladesh border with Tripura, detailed project reports for setting up two 'Border Haats' has been submitted to the government of India.
"A joint team of officials of India and Bangladesh has visited the sites where the 'Border Haats' are to be set up and the joint team would again visit Tripura soon to give a final touch to the matter," Chowdhury said.
According to the minister around Rs5 crore has to be spent to build necessary infrastructure in each of the proposed border market sites.
The border haats or bazaars are to be set up within five km on either side of the international border.
The border haats would be allowed to sell local agricultural and horticultural products, small agriculture and household goods, spices, minor forest products (excluding timber), fresh and dry fish, dairy and poultry products, cottage industry items, wooden furniture, handloom and handicraft items, garments, melamine products, processed food items, fruit juice, toiletries, cosmetics, plastic products, aluminium products and cooked items.
No local tax would be imposed on the trading, and both Indian as well as Bangladeshi currencies will be accepted, the minister said.
Four northeastern states - Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam - share a 1,880-km border with Bangladesh, and a large number of people reside just along the border.