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Disruptions Impair Border Trade

IMPHAL, Oct 20: In addition to loss of crores of rupees being incurred by the State because of frequent bandhs and blockades, such disruptions are severely affecting Indo-Myanmar border trade prompting Myanmarese traders to do a serious re-thinking.

A source in the State Industry Department said that despite maximum efforts put in by the department together with Indian traders to promote friendly relationship with Myanmarese traders so that the Indo-Myanmar border trade develops, imposition of frequent bandhs and blockades has negated any chance of flourish in the border trade.

Being inhabited by different communities, bandhs/blockades were imposed on Imphal-Moreh section of NH 39 by one community or another in pursuit of their own demands thereby choking the lone artery of the Indo-Myanmar border trade.

As such, traders could not utilize their full potential nor could they achieve their targets.

Comparatively, Myanmarese traders are more disturbed with such disruptive activities than their Indian counterparts.

Even as the number of items listed for border trade between India and Myanmar through Moreh has been increased to 40, traders on both sides of the border are unable to achieve even a fraction of their targets.

Myanmarese traders were often caught at the receiving ends when bandhs and blockades were suddenly imposed on Indian side as they could not trade their merchandise brought up to the border at the expense of large amounts of money.

They have even suggested shifting the trade centre to Mizoram away from Moreh in view of the much secure situation prevailing there, conveyed the source.

The Myanmarese traders have also highlighted the same opinion to the Government of Myanmar about shifting the border trade to Mizoram where there is no or fewer bandhs and blockades.

However, the Tidim-Falam highway connecting Myanmar to Mizoram is not fit for vehicles heavier than four metric tonnes even though the road and other infrastructure on Mizoram side are well developed.

Taking this into account, the Myanmarese proposed to the Government of India to develop necessary infrastructure along Tidim-Falam highway.

But Government of India is not supportive to this proposal as the 165 Kms long Tamu-Kalewa highway was developed with a view to transform it as a part of Trans Asian Highway.

On the contrary, the Govt of India has a strong desire to develop waterways and necessary infrastructure towards Kaladan in Myanmar.

If the proposed waterway is developed, Mizoram would also have the advantage of border trade, conveyed the source.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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