Onion exporters permitted by Centre to send some trucks to Bangladesh
On September 14, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Union ministry of commerce and industry issued a notification, stopping export of onions to foreign countries.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 21:48 IST
Eight trucks loaded with onions entered Bangladesh through the Mahadipur land port in West Bengal’s Malda district on Saturday, after the Centre allowed relaxation for vehicles that reported for customs clearance on or before September 14, the day the ban on onion export was ordered in view of the steep price rise across India.
Following the order, many exporters started diverting trucks headed for Bangladesh to wholesalers in West Bengal. As a result, prices came down by around five rupees in the state’s retail markets.
On September 14, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Union ministry of commerce and industry issued a notification, stopping export of onions to foreign countries. Hundreds of trucks headed for Bangladesh got stranded at the six land ports in Malda, North Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and North 24 Parganas districts.
Uzzal Saha, general secretary, West Bengal Exporters’ Coordination Committee, said, “The DGFT has said in a new notification that trucks that reported to the customs on or before September 14 for inspection and document verification may be allowed to enter Bangladesh.”
“Eight trucks reached Bangladesh on Saturday through Mahadipur but hundreds more are still stranded at the other land ports. We are receiving reports that around 25 per cent of the onions have turned bad because of heat and humidity. Many exporters have started selling their consignments in local markets,” said Biswas.
“We suffered huge losses during the nationwide lockdown. The ban on onion export will add to that loss,” he added.
On September 15, the West Bengal Exporters’ Coordination Committee wrote a letter to the DGFT, saying exporters are having difficulty because many consignments are sent against letters of credit issued by banks of the importing countries. It is difficult to divert these consignments to local markets as that would be breach of commitment, said the letter.
In recent weeks, Bangladesh has exported around 200 tons of Hilsa to West Bengal. Considered a delicacy, Hilsa has been in short supply at local markets this year because of low yield.