India and Bangladesh have reached an agreement to revive the border haats (markets) which have remained closed since Bangladesh came into being about four decades back.
The decision to this effect was taken in Dhaka during the foreign secretary level talks held recently between both the countries, Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said.
The five traditional border haats at Dawki, Borsora, Shella and two others in Garo hills would be revived soon. The Centre has conveyed this decision to the state government, Mr. Chatterjee told PTI.
Residents of border areas have been demanding the reopening of haats as perishable agricultural produce could be sold easily to Bangladesh.
A BSF official said officials from both the countries have surveyed the areas where the haats would be reopened.
The survey report has been submitted to the Centre and it is pending approval, the official said, adding the formalities in this regard were being processed.
Till 1971 border residents from erstwhile East Pakistan used to cross over to the Indian side for exchange of goods.
But after Bangladesh came into being, the border haats were closed.
History has it that border haats in Meghalaya were functional even during the Mughal period.
Currently, smuggling of goods across the border is estimated at Rs 200 crore, officials say.