Valuable imported goods are being stolen from various sheds of Benapole port, the country's largest land port, traders have complained.
The port users' organisations have not received any solution even after complaining to the authorities several times. There is constant resentment between the customs and the port users over the theft of imported goods.
In particular, the theft of customs auction goods is the most common. As a result, the government is being deprived of a large amount of revenue.
Customs officials say 1,102 tonnes of high-quality shirting and paintings were stolen from the port's shed number one.
The importer is HB International of Benapole, Customs Manifest No. 36340/1.
Customs authorities detained the goods on charges of making a false declaration. The consignment was later sold at auction at Tk 6.1 million (61 lakh).
The auctioneer confirmed the theft while taking delivery of the shipment of Nova Enterprise goods from Benapole port. The auctioneer immediately informed the port authorities of the matter.
On the other hand, Sun World Trade, an importer from Khulna, imported 19,91,320 kg of broken stone from India which is stored in the TTI of the port and whose customs manifest numbers are 26413/18, 24518/13, 25536/10, 26308/7.
The customs authorities have issued a letter to the port authorities regarding the matter whose number is 5th / 20 (06) LC / Auction / Bena-2020/56 (1-7).
The auctioneer, Mohammad Ali Khan, owner of Nova Enterprise in Benapole, said:
A strong syndicate is behind theft allegedly led by an official. They are directly involved in revenue evasion and theft of goods from the shed, it is alleged.
The organizations of the port users have complained to the authority. The port has a total of 42 sheds, each of which has an external tandel or thief.
According to the sources, two million metric tonnes of goods are imported from India through Benapole port every year.
The government earns about Tk 60 billion (6,000 crore) revenue from this port.
According to the port officials, outsiders are entering freely even though security guards are on duty at every gate of the port.
How illegal people are entering the port despite the port being a bonded KPI area, is questioned.
Abdul Latif, joint general secretary of the Benapole Importers and Exporters Association, said: Goods are being stolen from the port through the syndicate. The port authorities do not pay any compensation for the stolen goods.
Matiar Rahman, Director, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said, "A strong syndicate has been formed in the port. The customs and railway authorities are pulling the strings. As a result, the administrative chain of command has broken down and there is a big obstacle in collecting revenue.
Benapole Port Director (Acting) Abdul Jalil said, A three-member committee headed by the port's assistant director Mehedi Hasan has been formed after receiving allegations of theft of goods from the port. The inquiry committee has been asked to submit a report within two weeks.
Benapole Customs Commissioner Azizur Rahman said, "We have solved most of the problems of the port with the help of various stakeholders of the port. High-quality valuable fabrics have been stolen from Shed Number One and Huge Broken Stone stolen from TTI. We have written to the port authorities about the matter".