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Indo-China trade through Sikkim resumes this month

Written by: Staff

Gangtok, Jun 6: After about half-a-century closure of trade between India and China through Sikkim, Nathu-la, perched on about 14,000-foot above sea in east Sikkim, reopens for trading this month.

Although global spotlight has once more fixed on resumption of bilateral trade after 44 years, it is Sikkim's special thing of kind and many people believed it is their own.

The locals have already been given a five-year cushion period when the actual trade begins and the general idea behind this to protect and promote Sikkimese so as to reap maximum from the trade.

Signals are coming from the state government and it has been appealing to the masses about the economic windfall that Nathu-la trade will bring. Apart from the state government initiatives, the role of the local Chamber of Commerce compromising the elite of the business community will be crucial in coming days in involving people participation for the trade.

Sikkim Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a two-day workshop on border trade and is keepng regular contact with the state industries and commerce department in respect of Nathu-la trade.

Commerce's gereral secretary Suresh Agarwal spoke about the state government's perspective to involve the locals, especially the youth in the trade for self-employment. He also spoke about the cautious approach for the trade. "We are in the process of how to go about it", he said adding the need to identify each one's position for the trade.

He also said about its limitations in many matters like heavy investment for the trade. "Our people can have tie ups with principal producers in the country and play the role of middlemanship in the trade", he opined. The locals can also take up the role of handling, forwarding and clearing agents and be in winning position, he observed.

While appreciating the state government's active role in whole issue, Mr Agarwal felt that the government should take expeditious action on the issue of inviting the whole public and sensitise them on the modalities about border trade so that maximum people can take benefits. A helpline at the industries and commerce department will also be of good assist for the locals, he opined.

The trading on this icy-cold route has been closed since Chinese agression in 1962.


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