Bangladeshi traders’ strike hits trade with India

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

AGARTALA - A strike by Bangladeshi traders demanding improvement of infrastructure, including roads in their country along the border, has badly hit the neighbouring nation’s trade with India, officials said here Tuesday.

“Export and import through Akhaura land port has remained hit from Monday as Bangladeshi exporters and importers have called an indefinite strike,” an Indian customs official told IANS.

“They are demanding an early start of the work to repair the dilapidated roads leading to India’s Tripura,” he said.

The Akhaura land port, 150 km east of Bangladesh capital Dhaka and 5 km west of Tripura capital Agartala, is India-Bangladesh’s biggest trade point with northeast India.

“The badly damaged 16-km road from Dharkhar to Akhaura in Brahmanbaria district has remained unfit for plying heavy vehicles, especially loaded trucks, for long,” the striking traders told Indian reporters at the Akhaura checkpost.

“Despite repeated requests and agitations for years, the roads and highways and other concerned departments of the Bangladesh government have remained mute spectators on these vital issues,” said a Bangladeshi trader.

“Hundreds of trucks are stranded on both sides of the land port due to the agitation,” customs official in Agartala told IANS, quoting his counterpart in the neighbouring country.

Akhaura port is the most important international trading land port along India-Bangladesh border after Benapole land port in West Bengal. An average of 200 Bangladeshi loaded trucks come to Tripura every day.

“Due to the strike and th closure of India-Bangladesh trade through Akhaura port, the central and Tripura governments would lose Rs.6.5 million (around $145,700) per day as customs duty and sales tax,” Prasanta Bhattacharjee, member of the government’s permanent trade facilitation committee (northeast), told IANS.

Filed under: Economy

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