The Indian government has brought up the topic of restarting two markets known as “Border Haats” in Tripura to support local commerce and improve the livelihoods of residents living on either side of the border with Bangladesh.
Anupriya Patel, the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, mentioned in a letter to former Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb that the Border Haats in Srinagar in South Tripura district and Kamlasagar located in Sepahijala district and were closed temporarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the letter, she further said, “We are continuously raising the matter of reopening of Border Haats at Kamlasagar and Srinagar in the bilateral meetings with Bangladesh. We are hopeful of an early resolution of this matter.”
Notably, in December 2022, Biplab Kumar Deb made a Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha, urging the Centre to reopen the Border Haats located along Tripura’s border with Bangladesh.
These four Border Haats among which two in Tripura and two in Meghalaya were closed since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, leading to significant economic losses for the people residing in the bordering villages.
However, the two Border Haats in Meghalaya at Kalaichar in South West Garo Hills district and Balat in East Khasi Hills district were reopened last year.
Now, both are functional weekly once.
According to officials from the Tripura Industries and Commerce Department, the district administrations in Sepahijala and South Tripura have approached their counterparts in Bangladesh multiple times, requesting the reopening of the Border Haats.
The officials stated that the Covid-19 situation has been brought under control, and therefore, it is feasible to restart operations at the markets.