4:53 pm - Monday May 24, 4743

Political turmoil hits trade with India

Political turmoil in Bangladesh has severely hit the country’s trade with neighbour India and the Dhaka-Agartala bus service has been stopped, a customs official said here Wednesday.

“Exports and imports through Akhaura land port here and other bd-indiatrade points in the northeastern region have remained hit since Monday as political hitches forced traders to suspend their business,” an Indian customs official told IANS.

“We do not know when the internal situation of Bangladesh would normalise. However, braving the hostile situations in Bangladesh, some goods-laden trucks arrived at the Akhaura checkpost (between India and Bangladesh) Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Opposition parties, led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have launched an indefinite countrywide blockade to observe the first anniversary of the controversial parliamentary elections held Jan 5, 2014.

Since Monday, some people have been killed and properties and a large number of vehicles have been damaged in the nationwide political violence.

The BNP-led opposition alliance, having boycotted the general elections held Jan 5, 2014, are demanding fresh elections under a non-party caretaker government in Bangladesh.

“Due to the deadlock in the trade between Bangladesh and northeastern states, traders across the borders have been largely losing business,” Agartala Exporters-Importers Association general secretary Habul Biswas told IANS. “Hundreds of labourers involve in the trade are also become jobless.”

He said that the fear-stricken Bangladeshi truck drivers are reluctant to carry goods from Bangldesh to northeastern states.

India’s four northeastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Assam share 1,880-km border with Bangladesh and have several border trade points along this frontier.

“The Dhaka-Agartala passenger bus service, plying between the two cities four days a week, also stopped due to the aggressive situation in Bangladesh,” a Tripura transport department official said.

Akhaura land port, 150 km east of Bangladesh capital Dhaka and just on the outskirts of Tripura capital Agartala, is the most important international trading land port along India-Bangladesh border after Benapole land port in West Bengal.

Situated just adjacent to the heart of Agartala, Akhaurah land customs station is the most important international trading land port in northeast India with an average of 200 Bangladeshi trucks loaded with goods for export coming to Tripura every day.

Meanwhile, the Border Security Force also tightened their vigil along the India-Bangladesh borders in view of the tense situation in Bangladesh.

– IANS | Agartala