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Traditional border haats along Indo-Bangla to resume
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 20:
Published on 21 Oct. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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Finally, Bangladesh has agreed to reopen the traditional border haats (markets) in certain areas of the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya. The revival of these border haats is vital for the socio-economic development of the people in both sides of the international border. “The Bangladesh government has agreed to re-open the traditional border haats that could bring new lease of economic life to the people in both sides of the border,” Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said. To start with, both India and Bangladesh have agreed to revive five traditional border haats – Dawki, Borsora and Shella in Khasi and Jaintia Hills and two in Garo Hills including Gasuapara, he said. The border haats were booming centres of business before creation of Bangladesh. But, they were abruptly stopped by the centre and most villagers from the border areas now sell their perishable agricultural items here in the state capital under immense duress “The border markets if revived would help revitalise the rich tradition and culture of the past, besides ironing out misunderstanding between India and Bangladesh,” a border villager said. Years ago the village economy flourished through barter system (exchange of goods) between the Khasi villagers and the people from neighbouring Bangladesh. However, the closure of border haats on the pretext of “security” plunged the border villagers in a state of gloom for they depended largely on border trade to eke out their living.

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