Bangladesh bound trucks are officially supposed to be parked at Petrapole's Central Warehouse Corporation Terminal
Illegal Indian truck parking syndicates at Petrapole Land Port continue to cause hindrance to import activities between the two nations, causing considerable loss to Bangladeshi importers and traders.
Trucks carrying goods bound for Benapole are forced to wait 20-25 days, reportedly for extortion in Kalitala under Bongaon municipality in the Indian part of the port under Bangaon of West Bengal.
Bangladesh bound trucks are officially supposed to be parked at Petrapole's Central Warehouse Corporation Terminal.
However, Bangladeshi importers and traders alleged they need to pay Tk20,000-30,000 to Indian truck parking syndicates in Bangaon in order to get their goods released on an emergency basis.
The syndicates charge Tk50 to 200 per truck for each day of parking.
As a result, the economy as a whole suffers as raw materials cannot reach the factories in time. Truck drivers are also incurring losses in the process.
Besides, many goods begin rotting when Benapole-bound trucks are forced to park at the syndicate’s parking lot for 20-25 days.
According to importers, despite several attempts, they have not been able to get rid of the syndicate. However, the port authorities say they are trying to resolve the issue.
The commercial journey of Petrapole Land Port began with the Benapole Port in 1972. Kolkata, the chief commercial city of India is only 84km away from the port.
Traders of both countries prefer the route for export and import activities due to the smooth commute. Most of the imported items are industrial raw materials.
But because of this hassle and extortion, many traders have abandoned their export-import activities through the port, which also has caused a slump in revenue for the Bangladesh government.
Speaking to this correspondent, Indian truck drivers said trucks are forced to park at the Kalitola parking lot under Bongaon municipality against their will. The syndicate charges Tk50 to 200 per truck every day for parking.
Azim Uddin Gazi, general secretary of Benapole Port Truck Transport Union, said: "There is no truck parking lot or extortion racket in the Benapole port area for export from Bangladesh. But silent extortion takes place at Bangaon when anyone imports goods from India.”
Benapole Clearing and Forwarding(C&F) Agents Association General Secretary Sazedur Rahman said, because of extortion at Bongaon parking lot, many traders stopped import activities. “We have filed complaints to both port authorities, but to no avail.”
Acknowledging the problem, Indian’s Petrapole Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) Agents Association General Secretary Kartik Chakroborty said they had informed authorities about the matter.
Regarding the matter, Abdul Jalil, acting director of Benapole Land Port, said: “We have spoken to Indian authorities about the problem many times after getting complaints from traders. I hope the problem will be solved soon.”