India allows import through Benapole after Bangladesh exporters’ tit-for-tat move

  • Asaduzzaman Asad, Benapole Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-07-06 02:13:35 BdST


India has finally allowed goods in from Bangladesh through Benapole Land Port in Jashore days after Bangladeshi exporters blocked imports from across the border.

The local exporters had made the retaliatory move after India’s decision to send goods to Bangladesh while halting imports.

Five trucks carrying Bangladeshi garments entered India on Sunday afternoon and India also sent raw materials the other way, said Mamun Kabir Tarafder, the deputy director at the Benapole Land Port.

“We couldn’t send many goods due to time constraints. Normal trade will resume on Monday,” he said.

Emdadul Haque, the general secretary of Benapole Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agent Association, said the West Bengal state government discussed the issue in an emergency meeting on Saturday and asked the authorities at Petrapole, the Indian side of the border, to resume trade upon following health safety rules.    

Last Thursday, organisations that use Benapole port threw their support behind the exporters’ movement, blocking imports from India.

The two countries halted export and import through the port on Mar 22 fearing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

After a series of meetings between the customs authorities and traders who use the port, trade resumed on Jun 8.

But India was not allowing Bangladeshi goods citing COVID-19 concerns though it was sending its goods the other way.

The Indian media have reported that the resumption of trade through Petrapole-Benapole came on the back of efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s central government.

The Economic Times cited “frantic and herculean efforts” by the Ministry of External Affairs, as well as the home ministry, commerce ministry and the Indian High Commission in Dhaka as the reason behind the change in decision by the West Bengal government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.