Bengal suggests rail route for trade with Bangladesh after rap from Centre
Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia. India’s export to Bangladesh for the financial year 2018-19 was $9.21 billion and imports from Bangladesh for the same period was $1.22 billion.Updated: May 10, 2020 08:44 IST
The trade between India and Bangladesh can continue through Gede in south Bengal’s Nadia district during the coronavirus lockdown, the West Bengal government has proposed to the Centre.
The move comes after the Centre came down hard on the Mamata Banerjee government on Wednesday for not allowing movement of goods traffic through border crossings between the two neighbouring countries during the lockdown - a move it said could jeopardise India’s international commitments.
“One of the proposals that has come up in the letters that were exchanged between the Centre and the state is to continue international trade between India and Bangladesh through Gede via trains. This is safer and acceptable,” said Alapan Bandyopadhay, state home secretary.
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, in his letter to West Bengal chief secretary Rajiva Sinha, had stated on Wednesday that goods traffic through border crossings between India and Bangladesh, falling in the state, didn’t resume.
Bhalla told that by doing so, West Bengal was not only violating the Ministry of Home Affairs’ orders under Disaster Management Act but also Articles 253, 256 and 257 of the Constitution of India.
To this, Bandyopadhay had earlier stated that there were some local problems which had cropped up at Petrapole in North 24 Parganas.
“In case of Petrapole there has been some public issue. People at the border are in emotive commotion. The whole thing is being navigated. We will address the issue in due time after careful consideration of all the aspects involved. There are several issues concerning trade between India and Bangladesh. They would be considered after detailed discussion,” Bandopadhyay had said on Wednesday soon after the centre’s letter.
Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia. India’s export to Bangladesh for the financial year 2018-19 was $9.21 billion and imports from Bangladesh for the same period was $1.22 billion.