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India- Bangladesh sign MOU to establish Border Haats

By Nairita Das

New Delhi, Oct.23 (ANI): India and Bangladesh here on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for establishing Border Haats, a traditional commodity market, along the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border.

Two agreements on procedures were signed to facilitate movement of trucks between the two countries and also for movement of trucks from Nepal to Bangladesh both upto Land Customs Stations, thus fulfilling important commitments made during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Representing Indian side Joint Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Arvind Mehta signed the document whereas Dr Md. Ruhul Amin Sarker, joint secretary of the commerce ministry, signed the Border Haats agreement on behalf of Bangladesh.

Ahead of holding delegation level talks, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma held discussions with Bangladesh's Minister of Commerce Muhammad Faruk Khan.

Sharma while interacting with his Bangladeshi counterpart stated that both India and Bangladesh have already signed the one billion dollar Line of Credit, the Bulk Power Transmission Agreement and a MoU between National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board in the power sector as well as made considerable progress in implementing other areas of agreement.

Bangladesh's Commerce Minister Muhammad Faruk Khan is presently undertaking a visit to India at the invitation of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma and is accompanied by senior officials from the Government of Bangladesh and a high-level business delegation.

During the delegation level talks, Anand Sharma recalled the historic and multi-dimentional ties between the two countries and reiterated India's commitment to take it to greater heights.

Referring to the landmark visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sharma indicated that both countries have been actively engaged in implementing the Joint Communique, which reflects the understanding reached between the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

The Union Minister Sharma also conveyed that both sides have recently visited several Land Customs Stations to review state of infrastructure and that India was currently constructing 7 Integrated Check Posts and 8 Land Custom Stations under a 125 million dollar ASIDE scheme.

The two sides are also in discussion to construct the bride across Feni to begin trade between Sabroom and Ramgarh.

Union Minister Anand Sharma also emphasised that there was a need to integrate the North East and Bangladesh by encouraging investment flows and joint ventures as well as opening the Chittagong and Mongla Ports.

Sharma also announced that arrangements for supply of three lakh tonnes of par-boiled rice and 2 lakh tonnes of wheat from India to Bangladesh were being put in place and that the supply would take place soon.

He further stated that out of the quota of duty free export of 8 million pieces of textiles from Bangladesh to India, around 1.7 million pieces could be exported for the last quarter ending December 2010.

A fresh quota of 8 million pieces of textiles would be available from January 2011. It was further agreed that the pending Letters of Credit contracted before the imposition of ban on cotton exports would be honoured.

India's assistance to the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution through the Bureau of Indian Standards was appreciated.

Recalling the historic visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India and India's contribution to the War of Liberation, Bangladesh's Minister of Commerce today appreciated that both countries were earnest in implementing the Joint Communique.

He reiterated that Bangladesh stood for greater economic engagement with India and thanked the Commerce and Industry Minister for being forthcoming in addressing Bangladesh's concerns.

Anand Sharma, on this occasion, also extended an invitation to the Bangladesh Minister of Commerce to visit Meghalaya to jointly inaugurate the Border Haats along with the Chief Minister of Meghalaya on a mutually convenient date. (ANI)

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