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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Trade affected in WB due to three-day strike in Bangladesh

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, October 30, 2013
First Published: 09:40 IST(30/10/2013) | Last Updated: 09:43 IST(30/10/2013)

The three-day strike in Bangladesh called by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies adversely affected trade along the Petrapole-Beniapole border, which accounts for 50% of the land trade between the two nations.

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The violence in the neighbouring country has stopped import of goods in this side of the border and though trucks from the Indian side unload their goods at godowns at Beniapole, trucks in Bangladesh are not able to ferry the goods to their destinations.

Goods have piled up at Beniapole and traders and agents fear it might take a good amount of time to clear the backlog, despite Tuesday being the last of the three-day strike.

“Import from Bangladesh has stopped. Trucks exporting Indian goods to Bangladesh are able to reach Beniapole but goods are piling up there, as these are not being able to ferry the goods to the destinations due to the strike,” Kartik Chakraborty, secretary of the Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ Association (CFAA), told HT.

“Though Tuesday is the last day of the strike, it would take a few more days to clear the backlog. But if the opposition calls for a renewed strike, there would be a major problem for us as many goods are perishable. We are cooperating with customs officials and trying our best to normalise the situation,” Chakraborty added.

CFAA sources said previous strikes in Bangladesh did not affect trade during night and good-laden trucks could reach their destinations in Dhaka, Chittagong and other places. But the continuous three-day strike has affected trade during the night as well and traders are reluctant to ply their trucks due to fear of loot and arson.

Fourteen people have been killed so far in clashes between the opposition, police and ruling party supporters. BNP and its allies have been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena Wajed and called for immediate elections under a caretaker government.

Lack of space in the godowns at Beniapole has resulted in stranded trucks carrying rice, wheat and other commodities.

Security has been increased at Petrapole to prevent any violence. CFAA officials said though there has been no trouble so far at Beniapole, traders are apprehensive of ferrying goods till their destinations in Bangladesh.

Other land ports such as Ghojadanga and Hili have been facing the same situation.


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