Meghalaya CM calls for regulating border trade in north-east

Shillong, Oct 21 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Friday called for regulating trade on the international border in northeast India.

He said absence of legal trade led to illegal activities across the borders, which has a dangerous fallout for India as a whole.

Sangma was addressing a two-day international seminar on ‘Border Trade in North East India: A Politico-Economic Perspective’ organised by Women’s College here.

Referring to pre-Independence days when trade flourished in the remotest and most difficult border areas, the Chief Minister regretted that no advantage had been derived from border trade after 1947 and that the northeast borders have became areas of conflict and poverty.

Sangma said the opening of two border ‘haats’ in 2012 — one at Kalaichar in South West Garo Hills and Balat in East Khasi Hills — was meant to promote the age-old trade relations with Bangladesh. These not only brought economic benefit but also promoted people-to-people contacts across the borders.

“Given the success of these border markets, Meghalaya has submitted a proposal for setting up 22 more border ‘haats’, of which four have been sanctioned,” he said.

Earlier, Indian Institute of Management-Shillong’s Board of Governors Chairman Falguni Rajkumar termed South-East Asia as a divided family broken down by state politics and stressed the need to restore the dynamics of exchanges across the borders.