2018-04-15 13:45:50 BdST

Remove barriers on exports to BD: Tripura asks India’s central govt


India’s key north eastern state Tripura has requested the country’s central government to remove non-tariff trade restrictions on export of commodities through its land custom stations (LCSs) to Bangladesh as they have been hurting the interests of the State.

Tripura, which has seven LSCs on the Indo-Bangladesh border, has been exporting commodities worth only Rs. 40.6 million to Bangladesh, while imports coming through its land ports were worth Rs. 3.0 billion.

“The restriction is imposed on rubber, bamboo, tea and cashew nuts. All these items are allowed to be exported to Bangladesh through others LCSs in other parts of the country except Tripura", newly elected Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb said.

The Tripura CM said the State has been producing many rubber-based and bamboo-based products, tea and cashew nuts for export as suggested by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The State wants the Indian Commerce Ministry to take up the matter with the Bangladesh government so that the port restrictions can be removed.

“Our government has chalked out plans to set up industries that make use of the resources of the State. For instance, we produce 50,000 tonnes of rubber. We want it to be processed here so that employment can be generated. We have invited tyre manufacturers to set up factory here,” Deb said.

The chief minister said Tripura produces one of best varieties of pineapples in the world. “We want food processing industry to come up so that good quality pulp can be extracted here itself. What is remaining can be exported as they fetch good price in international market,” he said.

According to an agriculture department official in the State, Tripura currently produces about 1,25,000 tonnes of pineapple annually. This can easily go up to 3,00,000 tonnes. “Farmers are producing less because there is no forward market linkages,” the official said.

Exporting through Bangladesh can open up a major avenue for increasing pineapple production. Similarly, there is ample production of jack fruit in the State and it is in high demand in Bangladesh, he said.

The Chief Minister wanted the Central government to consider launching a separate scheme for improving connectivity through all seven LCSs along the Bangladesh border. Similarly, there is a need to convert LCSs into integrated checkposts and container depots need to be built around them, he said.

Deb said the LCS infrastructure on the Bangladesh has ‘visible gaps’ and this is affecting the trade between the two countries.

There is a need to take this up with Bangladesh at the highest level, he said.

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