Shillong, April 19: The Land Customs Station (LCS) in Balat, East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya has become non-functional since the quantum of trade at the LCS has become minimal, the Meghalaya Assembly was informed on Thursday.
Replying to a query during the Question Hour, Home Minister, James Sangma said, “Since there was not much trade happening there, the exporters did not show any interest to use the Land Custom Station and therefore it was made non-functional.”
To a supplementary query asked by Congress legislator from Mawsynram Himalaya M Shangpliang on what steps the state government was taking to revive trade and commerce at the LCS, Sangma informed the House that during the 10th meeting of India-Bangladesh Joint Working Group on Trade, Bangladesh had told India that it was keen to operate the Dalura LCS in Sunamganj district.
“Accordingly India was asked to consider to operationalize the Balat LCS,” the Home Minister who was replying for Commerce and Industries Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar said.
Sangma also informed that a week back officials of the District Industries Centre visited the LCS at Balat to examine the area’s trade potential.
“They have submitted a report which will be sent to the government of India and it will take a call based on the findings of the report,” Sangma said.
Earlier, Shangpliang said that considering the economic activity including coal trade in Borsora, Nongjri and Ranikor areas the LCS at Balat is a boon to promote trade and commerce in the area.
Sangma also informed the House that there are no specific criteria or policy required to set up a LCS.
The Minister said that even though there are no laid down rules for opening a LCS but there are certain considerations like having bilateral agreement for setting up such a station, the amount of trade that can be carried out from that location and the availability of physical infrastructure and connectivity.
Mawsynram legislator, Shangpliang also informed that although the station is known as Balat LCS, but it is located at Dangar village and suggested to the government to change the name.
Sangma informed the House that the naming of the LCS is done by the Government of India. The Minister also informed the House that there is no proposal to open Land Custom Stations in the state.