The import of natural stones from India has increased drastically due to the material’s growing demand in Bangladeshi development projects, including the Padma Bridge and Rooppur nuclear power plant constructions
The Hili land port authority is witnessing a boost in stone import from neighbouring India after a long slump lasting months.
As a result, revenue collections at the port has also increased.
The import of natural stones from India has increased drastically due to the material’s growing demand in Bangladeshi development projects, including the Padma Bridge and Rooppur nuclear power plant constructions.
According to sources at Hili land port authority, stone import took a nose dive starting from December last year to March of this year. The overhauling work of India's Farakka Barrage caused the decline. However the situation has changed in recent months.
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 tons of stones, carried by 80 to 100 trucks, is currently being imported through the port every day, said port authority.
According to the Hili Customs office sources, a total of Tk69.7 crore revenue was collected from 8,14,813 metric tons of stone imported through the port in 2018-19 fiscal year.
Harun-Ur-Rashid, president of Export-Import Group of Hili land port, said: "Stone import increased because the demand for this material is high in Bangladesh.”
"It is one of the main raw materials in construction work, and the Padma Bridge and Rooppur power plant projects have created a huge demand. Moreover, people nowadays are using natural stones in the construction of residential buildings too," he added.
Rajib Dutta, a stone importer, said: "The repair work of India's Farakka Barrage began in December last year, which caused the import of stone to decline. The situation remained unchanged till March this year, but it took a turn from April and we have since observed a boost in stone import."
The price of stones have also come down with the increase of import activities. Currently the import cost of per ton stones is only Tk1100-1200, he added.
However, another importer, on condition of anonymity, said: "The price could have been lower if a syndicate of Indian stone exporters did not control the trade. The syndicate is hiking the price sensing a high demand in our country."
Sohrab Hossain, public relations officer of Hili port, said that the import boost is resulting in huge revenue income. Additionally, the port authority and labourers are also earning more money.
Abu Bakar Siddique, official of Hili port Customs, said: "We might be able to achieve the revenue target this year if this upward trend continues."