India-Bangladesh Current Affairs - 2019
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India, Bangladesh jointly inaugurated three projects related to power supply rehabilitation of existing railway section. These projects were jointly inaugurated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina through video conference.
These three projects are
Rehabilitation of Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways: Under this project, bridge and bridge building was constructed, station with platform and shed along with reformation of level crossing and railway line were also built. Mainline of 44.77 km and loop line of 7.77 km was also renovated.
500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh: It will be transferred through existing Bheramara (Bangladesh)-Baharampur (India) interconnection. With completion of this project, India will be supplying around 1.16 Gigawatts of power to Bangladesh. This project announced during his PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015.
Akhaura–Agartala Rail Link: The railway project was conceptualized in 2010. Later, both the countries had signed MoU on this railway project in 2013. It is expected that railway line will become operational in 2019. The railway project consists of constructing 15.054 km long railway line. It will provide another link in the cross-border connectivity between two countries by connecting Akhaura in Bangladesh with capital city of Tripura, Agartala through Nischintapur in Indo-Bangla border. It will help to develop socio-economic as well as cultural bond between two neighbouring countries.
The first meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Committee on Border Haats was held in Agartala, Tripura. The Joint Committee also visited Border Haat at Kamlasagar in Sipahijala District, Tripura and Tarapur in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.
Outcomes of meeting
Both sides noted positive impact of Border Haats on livelihoods of people living in areas adjoining Haats. They also held extensive discussions on issues related to review of operations of four functional Border Haats viz. Kalaichar (Meghalaya), Balat (Meghalaya), Kamlasagar (Tripura) and Srinagar (Tripura).
They also made suggestions for improvement, timeline for setting up six additional Border Haats that have been agreed to earlier by both sides and roadmap for further expansion of Border Haats. They also agreed that next meeting will be held in Bangladesh on mutually agreed dates.
Border Haats (or rural market) aims at promoting the well-being of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries. It seeks to establish traditional system of marketing local produce thorough local markets in local currency or according to barter basis. Though trade carried in this informal market is not significant in terms of percentage of bilateral trade, but these local measures help to improve economic well-being of marginalised sections of society. Border haats along India-Banlgadesh border are established under Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed for Border Trade and Border Haats between both countries in October 2010. India and Bangladesh had signed MoU on Border Haats in April 2017 for establishment of Joint Committee to review border haats operations, suggest modifications in operational modalities and propose new locations of Border Haats.