After trade between India and Bangladesh through the Petrapole-Benapole border in West Bengal recommenced, an illegal parking of truck syndicates at Petrapole Land Port has been reported.
This has been impeding import activities between the two nations, apart from causing considerable loss to importers and traders.
While the trade through the border has resumed from July, the trucks from Bangladesh carrying goods bound for Benapole have been reportedly kept for 20-25 days, 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.
Bangladeshi importers and traders have reported how they are being compelled to pay Tk20,000-30,000 to parking syndicates in Bangaon in order to get their goods released on an emergency basis.
Responding to the same, 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.
The Petrapole-Benapole border route which is preferred by traders mostly for the export and import of raw materials between the two nations, due to the hinderance caused by the syndicate has compelled them to abandon their import-export activities via the port route.
Furthermore, raw materials are unable to reach the factories in time and are getting rotten in the process. Also, the truckers are incurring huge losses in the process.
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.”
As per the Petrapole Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) Agents Association General Secretary Kartik Chakroborty, the problem has been addressed to the higher authorities and an action regarding the same is being taken.
Petrapole-Benapole land port accounts for 70 per cent of bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India.
The trade between India and Bangladesh through the Petrapole-Benapole border in West Bengal recommenced on 5th July 2020, after operations were closed for three months due to COVID-19.