Bangladeshi traders and their workers launched an agitation against India, blocking the Petrapole border on Thursday. Their main demand, per media reports, was that India allow Bangladesh to send in its produce.
This has stranded Indian trucks filled with perishable products on the highway for several hours. The traders said that the highway would be sealed until India allowed imports.
“Today, there was nil export from India via Petrapole,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Chairman (East) Sushil Patwari said, according to a PTI report. He also sought the intervention of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the matter.
Some trucks with perishable goods diverted their cargo to Gojadanga, a smaller land port in the North 24 Parganas district.
“We have not allowed any truck to enter Benapole. This will continue until India resumes import of our goods,” Benapole C&F Agents Staff Association Secretary Sajidur Rehman said.
Benapole is across the border from Petrapole.
“Our exporters and a lot of workers associated with exports are suffering due to delays from the Indian side to allow shipments from us,” Rehman said to the media.
West Bengal-based exporters have already approached Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asking her to resolve the issue.
“Indian manufacturers, including MSMEs, are running short of essential supplies and raw materials as imports are not allowed. Since Bangladesh has allowed entry of Indian goods, it is required to import their cargo to keep the trade balance moving,” Patwari said in a letter to the chief minister.