Aizawl: Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Saturday said the Bangladeshi government is giving top priority to the implementation and formalisation of border trade between Mizoram and Bangladesh. 

Munshi, who arrived in Aizawl on Friday, visited the proposed sites for Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Kawrpuichhuah at Tlabung sub-division in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district and a border haat at Sajek area, about 20 km from Silsury village in western Mizoram’s Mamit district. It was a joint verification with Mizoram commerce and industry minister Dr. R. Lalthangliana on Saturday. 

The two leaders were accompanied by officials from both Mizoram and Bangladeshi governments. 

Addressing a brief function at the proposed site for ICP at Kawrpuichhuah, Munshi said the Bangladeshi government is committed to the commencement and execution of  cross border trade with Mizoram. 

He said the Bangladeshi government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is committed to fulfill its responsibilities and take necessary measures required for the setting up of and functionalisation of the ICP in Lunglei district and border haats at Silsury, Tuipuibari, Nunsuri and Marpara in Mamit district.

The Bangladeshi minister urged the Mizoram government for concerted efforts under mutual understanding. He expressed hope that the proposed bilateral trade will cement ties between Bangladesh and Mizoram, besides bringing economic benefits to the neighbouring country and the northeastern state.

During his visit to the proposed site for a border haat at Sajek, Munshi also said that the proposed border trade would be immensely economically beneficial for both Bangladesh and Mizoram.

He said Bangladesh is willing and ever ready to import vegetables and certain local products from Mizoram such as banana, chili and boulder, among others, as there is high demand in the neighbouring country.

Lalthangliana said that massive efforts would be made to expedite infrastructure developments at the Mizoram-Bangladesh border to ensure that the border trade commenced at the earliest. 

He said that the proposed border trade with Bangladesh will boost Mizoram’s economy as the state will be able to export various local products, including vegetables and construction materials like boulder and stone chips.

Munshi and Lalthangliana have also jointly laid the foundation stone for a border haat at Sajek.  They also visited the proposed site for a border haat at Udaipur on the Bangladesh side. Mizoram shares a 318 km long international boundary with Bangladesh. 

Official sources said a report of a survey conducted by a Central government enterprise was submitted to the Union Home Ministry in 2005 and a 224.99 bigha (about 139.26 acre) of land identified for the construction of ICP at Kawrpuichhuah. 

The Mizoram government had in 2020 also submitted a Rs 230 crore worth Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the Union Ministry of External Affairs for the construction of a 666 metres concrete double land bridge over Kawrpui river (Theka) on the Indo-Bangladesh border to facilitate border trade, it said. 

The construction a trade facilitation centre has been already completed at Tlabung, about 18 km from Kawrpuichhuah, the sources added. 

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