The export-import operation will start after confirmation from the administration
Indian and Bangladeshi business organization leaders have decided to load-unload 2,214 trucks, containing imported goods from India, in the no man’s land of Benapole-Petrapole check post.
The decision was taken in an emergency meeting at the same location on Wednesday afternoon to reduce the congestion formed by the loaded trucks at the check post.
However, the export-import operation will start after confirmation from the administration, said the leaders.
India will first export daily, necessary and perishable goods. The other goods will be exported or imported later on, they added.
Benapole Clearing & Forwarding (C&F) Agent Association Co-president Kamal Uddin Shimul, member Aminul Haque Inu, C&F Agent Staff Association General Secretary Sajedur Rahman and Cargo Secretary Rafiqul Islam Rakib were present in the meeting from Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Petrapole C&F Agent Staff Welfare Association General Secretary Kartik Chakraborty and Bongaon Export-Import Association President Poritosh Bishwas took part in the meeting from India.
The leaders said, due to the lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic the Petrapole port, authorities could not start the export-import operations, for which thousands of loaded trucks are waiting, from central parking to Bongaon municipality Kalitola parking, to enter Bangladesh.
The trade is not continuing like before due to a disagreement between the Indian Central Government and the State Government of West Bengal. Because of this, many Bangladeshi businessmen are suffering a loss as various types of perishable goods, including jute seeds and raw materials used in industrial mills, cannot pass the border, the leaders added.
Workers sitting idle
At least 30,000-40,000 workers from both the countries are sitting idle as the port is closed. They will have some work if the export-import begins.
Moreover, hand gloves, masks, hand sanitizers and arrangement for washing hands will be provided to the workers to protect themselves from the coronavirus infection.
Petrapole C&F Agent Staff Welfare Association General Secretary Kartik Chakraborty said all types of import-export operation between Bangladesh and India have been stopped since March 23, after the announcement of the lock down.
Truck drivers, entering Bangladesh, will be kept in quarantine for 14 days by Petrapole police, for which the trucks will only go up to the no man’s land where Bangladeshi truck drivers and workers will load-unload the goods, he added.
Benapole Integrated Check Post (ICP) Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Commander Abdul Wahab said they need permission from higher officials to use the no man’s land. The operation will start as soon as they have it.
Benapole C&F Agent Association Co-president Kamal Uddin Shimul said everyone will work with full protection from the coronavirus infection.
Benapole port Deputy Director (administration) Mamun Kabir Tarafder said if the export-import is done at the no man’s land, the port authorities will provide all necessary support.