NE’s International Borders: Focus Town - Dalu

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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NE’s International Borders: Focus Town - Dalu

SM Farid | August 30, 2019 17:45 hrs


The border town of Dalu in Garo hills can be the first preferred nearest international border to the business hub of the northeast - Guwahati.


One can travel by road from Guwahati to Tura in four hours and then, from Tura to Dalu in another around two hours. From the border in Bangladesh’s Naltabari in Nakugaon, it is three hours by road to the capital city, Dhaka.  So, one can travel from Guwahati to Dhaka in approximately 10 hours. This is possible and very much doable.


I was recently invited by the Dalu Exporters’ Association and the Tribal Exporters’ Association to do a ground assessment on the possibilities of actively promoting international trade from the border. I was accompanied by Mr Aki Sangma, an upcoming entrepreneur and an active member of the Exporters’ Association.


I spent the entire day at the border and also met the customs and BSF officials who were cordial in replying to all my border-related queries. Dalu has been a quiet border town ever since coal exports stopped and today, a very small volume of bolder exports takes place. Coal and boulder are the two main and only products that are exported not only from Dalu but also through the other three international borders of Ghachupara, Bagmara and Mahindraganj. For the region to the avail the benefit of border trade a few issues need to be addressed.


•    Club all existing associations and establish a chamber of commerce which will give national and international recognition.


•    Look beyond the usual coal and boulder exports. The exports of ginger, oranges etc can also be encouraged from Dalu. Imports of plastic products, cement, refined oil, mosquito nets etc take place from this border town. We can also encourage fish imports on the lines of the Tripura border.


•    Upgrading and modernisation of the existing warehouse facilities in Khilapara will surely boost storage system in the border area.


•    Setting up of border haats in Dalu will help on the lines of the Moreh haats in Manipur and it will boost people’s interaction and trade & commerce.


•    The Meghalaya government should step in to revive the abandoned Baljeik airport in consultation with the ministry of civil aviation. A few private companies can also be consulted in this regard.


•    Dalu in particular has the potential to be a big business hub followed by Ghachupara (having two entry and exit points), Bagmara and Mahindraganj all having international borders with Bangladesh keeping in mind the steady rise of the GDP of Bangladesh.


•    Last, but not the least, the infrastructure needs to be developed more with basic facilities in place to encourage investments both from Indian and international companies/institutions in this region.  

 
(The writer is a trade and investment consultant - ASEAN region. He can be reached at shahfarid90@gmail.com) 

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