Gangtok, May 3 (ANI): Border trade between India and China through Nathula in Sikkim will begin from Monday.
In 2006, both India and China agreed to reopen the traditional trade route after 42 years.
The route shall remain open from Monday to Thursday every week, from 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Indian time and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Chinese time.
Incidentally, the Nathula- Tsomgo Road re-opened from Monday, after remaining closed from April 12 due to landslide.
The Nathula border trade has witnessed a tremendous growth with exports soaring from a mere Rs 8.87 lakh during 2006-07 to Rs 135 lakh in the year ended 2009-10.
Simultaneously there has been a steady decline in imports.
However, a major concern in border trade has been the revision in the list of items of trade. The Sikkim Government is pursuing the matter with the Centre.
The other grey area is road infrastructure leading to the trade destination mart at Sherathang before Nathula, where, under the Border Area Development Project (BADP), the broadening of the road is going on but is periodically halted due to the monsoon and landslides.
In the year 2007-2008, the trading period was revised from May 1 to November 30.
Trade in the last four years were: Export from India to Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR): 2006-07 – Rs 8.87 lakh; 2007-08 – Rs 27.87 lakh; 2008-09 – Rs 95 lakh; 2009-10 – Rs135 lakh.
Import from TAR to India: Rs10.83 lakh; Rs6.88 lakh; Rs1.35 lakh; Rs 2.96 lakh.
There has been no change in trade items and it remains the same, i.e., 29 exportable items from India to TAR and 15 items from TAR to India.
Since the term border trade is to be construed as trade opened for the people of the border area only and for items produced in local area of limited value, the Indian Government has fixed the currency value limited to Rs one lakh per day per trader from 2007-08.
The State Commerce and Industries Department has advised the District Collector and District Magistrate (East) for issuance of trade passes to the traders at the earliest to enable the traders to prepare themselves for trading. (ANI)