After a break of 75 days, exports to Bangladesh finally got back on track on Thursday. The export of goods resumed at the Mahadipur border with 83 sanitised trucks with cargo crossed the border, going up to the Panama land port, where goods unloading will be done.
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A discussion was held on Wednesday between the district administration in West Bengal and the exporters to determine the plan of action to resume export activities. In the meeting, it was decided that for the first 15 days, only 50 drivers will be allowed to take the trucks beyond the border, and will be accommodated in a separate place. After 15 days, another group of 50 drivers will engage in taking the trucks, and so on.
According to exporters, a net loss of Rs. 600 crore was incurred due to this gap in export activities. A steep decline in trucks crossing the border from India to Bangladesh was witnessed due to the lockdown, in contrast to more than 300 trucks plying on the Indo-Bangladesh border prior to the lockdown.
As per reports, customs and Union Ministry of Commerce had been asking the West Bengal government to resume truck movement cross border, but were met with resistance from the state government. But with exports restarting, exporters claim to be in a better place. The first day of the resumption in exports saw cattle and poultry feed, onions, fruits, ginger being exported.
Commenting on the cross-border trade reopening, Bhupatoi Mandal, Mahadipur Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ leader, said, “There was a stalemate regarding the resumption of exports. (We are) Happy that it (export) has started. All safety norms are being followed.”