Finally, after 105 days of agitation, Bangladeshi goods started being exported to India through Benapole-Petrapole land port on Sunday.
At the same time, after remaining closed for 5 days, the import activities of the port became normal. On the first day of restarting export activities, 5 Bangladeshi trucks carrying garments products entered the Indian port of Petrapole at 5.30 pm and following that import activities started too.
Only a few trucks of raw materials from India entered the Benapole port on the day. With the restarting of import-export activities, Benapole and Petrapole ports have become busy again.
According to port sources, imports and exports through Benapole-Petrapole port were suspended since March 22 due to corona virus infection. After several rounds of meetings, the border trade resumed on June 6 on the instructions of the West Bengal state government.
Since then Indian products have been coming to Bangladesh. But no Bangladeshi goods were exported to India. Port users in Benapole say Indians did not accept any exports from Bangladesh for security reasons, fearing corona infection.
As a result, import activities were normal but exports were being disrupted. The trade deficit was increasing. The exporters of this country were suffering. The country was being deprived of foreign income.
Due to India not accepting export goods, the exporters unitedly closed the import trade activities through Benapole-Petrapole port from last Wednesday (July 1) morning forcing the West Bengal state government office to reconasider.
Indian traders also talked in favour of restarting export, import activities through the port. The Petrapole Port and Customs authorities have expressed interest in taking the exported goods from Sunday afternoon after the state government in an emergency meeting on Saturday directed to start exporting in the same process as importing in accordance with the health rules.
In this context, Bangladeshi trucks carrying garments were allowed to enter the port of Petrapole on the day. Due to lack of time, more trucks could not be sent on this day. However, imports and exports between the two countries will resume normally from Monday morning, port officials said.
Sajedur Rahman, general secretary of the Benapole C&F Agent Staff Association, said the export could not be resumed even after repeated discussions with various organizations.
As the exporters stopped importing activities, the port users, including the Indian administration, were finally taken aback. Following the decision of the Indian government, the Indian port authorities received 5 trucks from Bangladesh on the day.
Benapole Port Deputy Director (Traffic) Mamun Kabir Tarafdar said, after a long time, 5 trucks of goods were exported to India through Benapole Port on Sunday. Import-export activities will continue normally from now on.