India-Bangladesh trade snapped as traders stage protest

May 29th, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, May 29 (IANS) Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh through the northeast remained suspended for the sixth day Thursday with traders continuing a strike to demand improvement in infrastructure. “Despite repeated demands and governments’ decisions to upgrade the necessary infrastructure, including roads, Dhaka remained reluctant to take any steps,” said Habul Biswas, general secretary of the Indo-Bangla exporters-importers association.

Thousands of trucks loaded with cement, various construction materials, fish, garments on the Bangladesh side and fruits and vegetables on the Indian side were stranded along the border here.

In view of the trade suspension and shortage of construction materials, construction works have been affected in Tripura and other northeastern states while prices of fish and other commodities are increasing.

According to the official estimate, the daily volume of trade between India and Bangladesh is Rs.10 million in the 20-odd land customs stations (LCS) located along the northeast.

“Through the Akhaurah checkpost alone in western Tripura, trade worth Rs.5 million are being carried out everyday,” Biswas told IANS.

He said the traders associations of Bangladesh had been demanding improvement of infrastructure on the Bangladeshi side.

Agreeing with the views of the traders about the poor border infrastructure on the Bangladeshi sides, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury said, “Over the last 20 years, the Tripura government had been pushing the centre to open more trade and rail lines with Bangladesh but the talks had not materialised so far.”

“Though Bangladesh has a trade deficit with India, it is surplus with the northeastern states and the export-import business between the (northeastern) region and Bangladesh has scope for further improvement,” Chowdhury added.

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