Agartala: There’s no end to the misery of vendors at the ‘border haats’ of Tripura. On Tuesday, the ‘border haat’ at Srinagar in south district reportedly remained shut, with the vendors alleging harassment by BSF personnel besides denial of entry into the market.
As many as 27 vendors from the Indian side were forced to go back home on Tuesday after the market was shut down by police officials. Talking to EastMojo, additional district magistrate Hirendra Debbarma said that it was because of strike called in neighbouring Bangladesh that led to the development.
Meanwhile, at the Kamalasagar border haat in the Sepahijala district of Tripura, vendors have still not been denied entry into the market even a month after they were first stopped by workers reportedly belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
When this EastMojo reporter visited the site on Sunday, several vendors were seen waiting outside as BJP workers forcefully stopped them from entering the market complex. Eventually, only three of them could enter despite police presence.
Abdul Chhamad, one of the vendors, had said: “BJP workers from the Debipur Panchayat have threatened us not to come to the market anymore.”
As per reports, vendors were issued licences in 2015 under the then Left-front government in the state. However, passes, which were scheduled to be renewed every 11 months, were apparently not given anymore when the BJP government came to power.
Local BJP panchayat member Ashim Sarkar, however, denied the allegation of involvement of BJP workers and instead accused the traders of doing business with expired passes.
The ‘border haat’ concept was introduced as a border trade market between Bangladesh and India. It is a market place organised by the two countries one day each week. It is not only a market for buying daily commodities but also a reunion spot for families living on both sides.
Currently, four border haats are operational along the India-Bangladesh border. While two of them are located in Meghalaya at Kalaichar and Balat, the other two are located in Tripura at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
Trade at border haats is permitted to be carried out in either Indian rupees or Bangladeshi taka and on a barter basis, and data of such trade is maintained by the haat management committee of the respective border haat.
As per current rules, people living within a radius of 5 km along the border in both the countries can obtain licences to become a vendor. At present, 22 vendors (44 in all) from each side sell their products in the border haat at Kamalasagar. Also, only 1,000 buyers are allowed in the market at a time.