45 people travelled India in the last 3 days
As many as 19 Bangladeshis travelled to India through Benapole port on medical visas with the approval of the Home Ministry’s security services division on Wednesday, taking the total number to 45 in the last three days.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshis returning from India are being kept in 14 days of mandatory institutional quarantine at different hotels in Jessore, Benapole and other areas at their expenses.
The Bangladesh government imposed a ban on travel to and from India from April 26 to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including a new variant of the deadly disease.
A large number of Bangladeshis visit India on medical visas on a regular basis. Due to the travel ban, the treatment process of many patients was disrupted tremendously. Patients dealing with complex diseases suffered the most.
Dhiman Sarkar, a Bangladeshi who visited India on a medical visa, said: “My girl was suffering from a complex disease. I visited India three months ago for her treatment. We were supposed to go again in a month, but we couldn’t make it due to the travel ban, as the Covid situation deteriorated further.
“Now we have received clearance from the Home Ministry, after seeking permission. But we had to meet various conditions, including the arrangement of Covid-19 negative certificates within 72 hours of testing,” he added.
Jahanara Begum said: “I have been visiting India for medical treatment, risking my life amid this pandemic. I wouldn’t have to, if treatment facilities in our country were improved.
According to immigration sources, the government has decided to grant a conditional travel permit to India on humanitarian grounds after two months of the latest ban.
The Indian government has responded positively to the initiative.
Benapole Immigration OC Ahsan Habib said: “Patients suffering from complex diseases have the opportunity to visit India on medical visas with conditional travel permits from the Home Ministry. Bangladeshis returning from India are returning with special clearance from the Bangladesh embassy in India.”
Around 5,562 Bangladeshis have returned to the country from India in the last 56 days. During this period, 45 Bangladeshis and 1,000 Indians visited India from Bangladesh, he added.
The Indian government had suspended all existing visas except for diplomatic, official, UN, international organization, employment and project visas on March 13, 2020. After several months, the suspension was eased as the Covid-19 situation developed in both counties.
The ongoing travel ban was imposed on April 26, 2021, following a massive surge in Covid-19 cases in the region.