Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Over 15,000 tourists returned from India after Eid holiday in 3 days

  • Sixfold increase compared to regular days
  • Travelers urge improving the immigration process at the port
Update : 19 Apr 2024, 01:03 PM

Following the record number of passengers travelling to India, the country is now seeing the return of Bangladeshi tourists from India, leading to increased passenger congestion at the Benapole land port.

Between Tuesday and Thursday, a total of 15,422 tourists have returned home. Specifically, 4,910 tourists returned on April Tuesday, 5,363 on Wednesday, and 5,149 on Thursday.

Earlier, it was reported that over 32,000 individuals traversed between the two countries during the five-day period from Eid day to Monday, marking a sixfold increase compared to regular days.

The surge in travel has been attributed to the five-day holiday for Eid-ul-Fitr and Pohela Boishakh.

This prompted many individuals, benefiting from the extended break, to visit India for various purposes. Consequently, as these individuals return, there has been an unprecedented strain on Benapole port, with security personnel from different administrative departments working diligently to ensure the safety of the returning tourists.

Subhash Master, who recently returned from India, highlighted the extensive waiting times at Petrapole immigration, attributing the delays to a shortage of officers.

Mozaffar Hossain, another returning traveler, echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the sluggish processing at Petrapole immigration due to limited staffing.

He said: “There were only three officers at the desk. They took ages to complete immigration process. The passengers had to stand in queue for a long time.”

Moreover, upon their return, many tourists have reported exorbitant fares at transport counters, particularly for long-distance buses, as a consequence of seat shortages.

Typically, fares for a trip to Dhaka range from Tk550-750 for non-AC buses and Tk1,000-1,200 for AC buses. However, currently, non-AC fares have surged to Tk800, while AC fares have inflated to Tk1,500-2,000, causing financial strain on returning travelers.

Mohsin Milon, president of the Benapole Import-Export Association, shed light on the substantial traffic between India and Bangladesh, estimating approximately 2 million passport holders crossing through Benapole port annually.

He said Bangladesh government earns around Tk150 crore from tourists and Indian government earns Tk140 crore from visa fee.

Despite this significant influx, he lamented the stagnant quality of service, underscoring the urgent need for improvement.

Rezaul Karim, director of Traffic at Benapole Port, said: “Thousands of Bangladeshi tourists have gone to India for the Eid holidays this time. As the holidays are over, the pressure of tourists returning to India has increased at the port. The authorities are trying to cope with the added pressure to complete the immigration process quickly.”

Similarly, Kamruzzaman Biswas, officer-in-charge of Benapole Immigration Police, acknowledged the substantial influx of tourists returning from India and emphasized the smooth completion of immigration procedures as a priority for their staff.

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