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Trade thru Benapole land port suspended

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Trade through Benapole port remained suspended since yesterday morning as a group of users of its connecting Petrapole port went for a strike demanding withdrawal of a rule recently imposed by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India.

Indian clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents used to enter Benapole carrying the export and import documents at the time of every trade, said Kartik Chandra, general secretary of the Indian Petrapole C&F Agent Staff Association.

“The BSF has recently started stopping the C&F agents showing security reasons and said only the drivers of the corresponding import or export trucks will be allowed to carry the documents.”

“We informed the BSF that the truck drivers are not educated enough to complete a trade without the help of the C&F agents and urged the security force to allow the C&F agents. But it didn’t pay heed to our call.”

The security force has also been harassing the goods’ trucks in the name of searching without showing any specific reason, he said.

All these pushed Petrapole Bandor Jibon Jibika Bachao Committee, an association of the ports’ users, including truck drivers and C&F agents, call the work abstention, Chandra said.

Benapole port loses Tk 17 crore in import revenues a day and Tk 5 crore for exports, Mustafizur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Benapole Custom House told.

Over 250 trucks with different goods, including jute and jute products, fish, industrial raw materials, apparel items, machinery and food items, are now waiting to cross the border through the ports, he said.

“If it continues for a long time, the strike will restrict the custom house to reach its revenue target of Tk 5,500 crore set by the government for fiscal year 2020-21.”

Every day over 500 different types of goods are imported from India and 250 trucks of goods are sent from Bangladesh through Benapole port.

However, there was hindrance in the travel of passengers and unloading of goods at Benapole port.

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