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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Customs officials, traders of India and Bangladesh hold meeting on border trade hours

Officials of the border protection forces of both countries were also present at the meeting that was held for around three hours at the Border Security Force (BSF) office at Mahadipur in Malda district

Soumya De Sarkar Malda Published 23.11.23, 09:17 AM
Delegates of India and Bangladesh at the meeting on bilateral trade at Mahadipur of Malda on Wednesday.

Delegates of India and Bangladesh at the meeting on bilateral trade at Mahadipur of Malda on Wednesday. Picture by Soumya De Sarkar

Customs officials of India and Bangladesh and traders of both countries on Wednesday attended a meeting to discuss how to implement the recently increased duration of international trade through the Mahadipur land port of Malda district.

Officials of the border protection forces of both countries were also present at the meeting that was held for around three hours at the Border Security Force (BSF) office at Mahadipur.

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“The increase in the duration of international trade, which in turn would augment the volume of the international business between the two countries, was primarily discussed at the meeting, along with some other issues,” said Desh Dulal Chatterjee, the Customs superintendent posted in Malda.

He said that previously, exporters and importers of India and Bangladesh would meet daily to discuss trade, but nowadays, such meetings were not held. “It was discussed how the daily meeting at the zero point between traders of both countries could be resumed shortly,” he added.

Nikhil Ghosh, president of the Mahadipur Exporters’ Association, said that around four weeks back, the Union government increased the span of international trade from 6am to 8pm from 8am to 5pm.

“However, the change of the duration is yet to be implemented in case of international export to Bangladesh. We requested our Bangladesh counterparts to take the initiative so that the increased duration of international trade could be implemented at the earliest at this land port,” said Ghosh.

“If the duration is extended, around 500 trucks carrying goods would enter Bangladesh every day through Mahadipur instead of 380 trucks at present, other than Friday, when trading remains closed at the border,” he added.

Items like stone chips, onions, potatoes, maize, soybean and cattlefeed are exported to Bangladesh through this land port.

Bhupati Mandal, a member of the Mahadipur Clearing and Forwarding Agents’ Association, said every day, goods worth around Rs 30 crores are traded between the countries through the land port.

“If the timetable is revised, the daily volume of business might reach Rs 50 crores as around 500 trucks could move into Bangladesh through the border,” said Mandal.

Md Manunur Rashid, a Bangladeshi importer of Sona Masjid, also agreed that they were interested in taking advantage of the increased duration of international trade.

“However, as the general elections in our country would be held shortly, the issue can be resolved only after a new government is formed in Bangladesh,” said Rashid.

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