Border Haat management bodies should reopen activities ensuring social distancing and pre-cautionary measures to set example of safe market places, economist Prof Aitur Rahman said.
Indo-Bangla border haats are a trading platform to exchange views and enhance good relations of both the countries and balanced business of the legal products of both the countries.Addressing a webinar on border haat recently, former Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur also emphasized on importance of the cross-border trading to strengthen bilateral relationship among Bangladesh and India.
Unnayan Shamannay and CUTS International India jointly organised the webinar titled ‘Border Haats: Tools to Reduce Informal Cross Border Trade between India and Bangladesh’, said a news release on Friday.
Governments of Bangladesh and India opted to shut down operations of border haats in March 2020 at the wake of the Corona pandemic.
“However, policymakers now have to think about opening up these cross-border market places cautiously. For obvious reasons, authorities have more control over the border haat operations than they have on regular local markets,” explained Prof Atiur mentioning that the border haat can become examples of safe market places.
Both the governments are trying to encourage opening of more such type of haats along the border to facilitate people-to-people contacts as well as encouraging economic activities for the benefit of common people.
Dr Atiur also inferred that border haats have been enhancing people to people cooperation at the micro levels and at the same time strengthening a conducive macro environment of sub-regional and regional economic cooperation.He urged experts and other stakeholders from both countries to come forward with solutions to the new challenges created due to the pandemic so that border haats can become further sustainable and scalable.
CUTS International Chief Executive Bipul Chatterjee welcomed the expert discussants of the seminar.
DFID Asia Regional Policy Manager Mohit Sippy, Prof Enamul Haque of East West University, Asian Confluence Executive Director Sabbyasachi Dutta and BIDS Senior Research Fellow Nazneen Ahmed discussed on the occasion.
Arnab Ganguly and Bijaya Roy from CUTS International and Robart Shuvro Guda from Unnayan Shamannay presented the keynote paper.
Discussants pointed out the positive impact border haats have had on the lives and livelihoods of the people living in border area especially on women entrepreneurs for over almost a decade.
They emphasized on the need for reopening of the border haats with utmost precaution to ensure safety and trade vibrancy in the border areas.
Discussants inferred that operationalising the border haats will enable the communities living in those areas to cope with the pandemic-induced economic shock to a significant extent.