India-Bangladesh trade hit by BDR mutiny

March 19th, 2009 - 6:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, March 19 (IANS) The bloody mutiny of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in Dhaka last month has knocked off the Indo-Bangladesh border trade by 50 percent, traders here Thursday said.
“The BDR mutiny and reduction of the rate of the Indian rupee against the US dollar have largely affected the Indo-Bangla export-import business during the past few weeks,” said Habul Biswas, spokesman of the Indo-Bangla Desh Trading Organisation.

Bangladesh exports textiles, leather, food and confectionary items, stone, cement and various construction materials, jewellery, and processed food to the northeast. Northeast traders export fertilizers, precious stones, fruits, and automobile parts to Bangladesh.

Customs officials here corroborated the report.

Meanwhile, the Agartala-Dhaka and Dhaka-Kolkata bus services are returning to normal.

But the number of visa seekers has also come down following the mutiny.

“Normally we had been issuing 45 to 50 visas everyday. After the BDR mutiny, less number of Indians are coming to us for visa,” said Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, deputy head of the Bangladesh mission in Agartala.

“The high-level task force led by Tripura Chief Secretary Sashi Prakash and comprising officials and businessmen of the two countries would suggest ways and means to enhance the trade between Bangladesh and northeast India,” said Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury.

The minister told journalists here: “Bangladesh could earn about 500 billion US dollars every year if it allows us to use their roads, railways and ports to transport goods.”

According to the minister, the export and import business between India and Bangladesh only through Tripura border was expected to reach about Rs.1 billion in the current fiscal compared to Rs.300 million in 2005.

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