Tripura has requested the Centre 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 4.6 crore to Bangladesh, while imports coming through its land ports were worth 300 crore, said Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
Curbs on exports:“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,” Deb said while talking at the first meeting of NITI Aayog North-East Forum meeting in Agartala on Tuesday.
He 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 Commerce Ministry to take up the matter with the Bangladesh government so that the port restrictions can be removed.
Earlier, talking to media persons, the Chief Minister said the previous Left government which ruled the State for 25 years continuously did very little for the economic development of the State.
“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,” he said.
Food processing units: Deb 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.
Border connectivity: 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.