Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– ‘Border Haat’ agreement between Bangladesh and India will be signed on October 21 this year in New Delhi, officials said.

Dhaka has finally agreed to sign the proposed agreement after New Delhi had assured of non imposition of any local tax on Bangladeshi products to be traded in the proposed Haat. The Haat will operate in two frontier locations on a pilot basis, which might be extended on its successful operation, The Financial Express (FE), local newspaper, reported quoting sources.

Commerce Minister Faruk Khan will lead a 16-member delegation to Indian capital on October 20.

“Both the countries are going to ink the ‘Border Haat’ agreement as dispute over local tax issue has been resolved,” Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told the FE on Sunday.

“Bangladesh will be benefited out of the proposed Haat as the demand for Bangladeshi products are high in the frontier areas of India where the haats will be established,” Mr. Rahman added.

The Indian part of the two “Border Haats’ will be in the state Meghalay while the Bangladesh part would be on Sunamgong and Kurigram districts.

Two bazaars will be set up in the first phase – one in Sunamganj and another in Kurigram along India’s Meghalaya frontier – in a bid to boost trade and commerce for local border people. The trading will be held once a week.

Dhaka and New Delhi agreed to set up border markets early this year when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made her first visit to India.

In 1972, a total of 181 land customs stations were established along the border to facilitate cross-border trading. Operations of around 130 stations were suspended a year later after allegations that they spurred smuggling.

BBN/SI/ANS-04Oct10-4:13 pm (BST)