BENAPOLE: Around 6,000 goods-laden trucks are waiting in Petrapole's Kalitala parking lot of India to cross into Benapole Port.
As the goods-laden trucks have been stranded, trade between the two countries has been greatly affected. It has already had a major impact on revenue collection.
Halt in trade between the two countries is becoming increasingly frequent, caused by various complications that are being deliberately stoked. Toll worth millions of rupees is extorted from the trucks every day in the Kalitola Parking lot.
Importers and C&F agents have reduced imports through Benapole land port due to long delays in importing goods.
Trade with India through this port is worth Tk 300 billion (30,000 crore) annually. Benapole Customs House, directly and indirectly, earns revenue of Tk 100 billion (10,000 crore) in a fiscal year. Seven to eight hundred truckloads of goods are imported from India every day through Benapole port. At present, the number has come down to 200-300.
Indian Bangaon Municipality has created a privately-owned park called Kalitala Parking lot and forces the trucks to park in the park.
Traders said at present it takes 30 to 50 days for a truck to enter Bangladesh. All the extorted money has to be paid by the Bangladeshi importers.
Benapole Customs Commissioner Azizur Rahman held a meeting with the Indian customs, port, and traders yesterday.
Matiar Rahman, director of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, said, “A strong syndicate has been formed at the Indian port of Petrapole and Kalitola Parking on the other side of Benapole port centring the import of goods by land”.
Mofizur Rahman Sazan, president of the Benapole Custom C & F agents Association, said 80 per cent of raw materials of the country's industrial units and garment industries as well as various food items are imported through the Benapole port. “Delays in importing goods are having an impact on many industries as well as revenue collection”, he added.
Benapole Customs Commissioner Azizur Rahman said, "We are holding regular meetings with Indian customs, port and traders to increase revenue and the import-export activities. At present, about 6,000 trucks are stuck up in the Kalitala parking lot of India's Petrapole Port. As a result, the revenue income has decreased to a great extent."