In the wake of the traders' demand for setting up CCTV cameras at Benapole land port to counter smuggling, frequent fire incidents and influences of middlemen, 375 CC cameras were installed in the port on Friday.
The cameras have been set up at the entrance of imported goods, truck terminal, bypass road, passenger terminal, bus terminal, etc at the cost of Tk15 crore, said port authorities.
Expressing satisfaction, businessmen who use the port for trade said the cameras would help port authorities to stop prevailing irregularities at the Benapole port, the largest land port in the country, and ensure security, transparency and accountability in the port's activities.
Benapole Port Deputy Director (Traffic) Md Mamun Kabir Terafder said the setting up of cameras started last year but it took extra time to complete the project due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Benapole Import-Export Association Vice President Aminul Haque said various types of unwanted incidents used to take place in the port, which disrupted the trade and overall activities and threatened the security of passengers and goods.
The setting up of the cameras has been made possible after a long time with the initiative of some responsible officers of the port, he added.
Automobile parts importer Rezwan Ahmed from Jashore said, "We used to live in fear of theft and damage of goods, worth a few crores of taka, kept in the port because no trader has been compensated after their goods were stolen or burnt in the fire. So, introducing CC camera monitoring is a great relief for us."
Transport Driver Russell said passengers had to fall into the clutches of middlemen or brokers as soon as they got off at the Benapole bus terminal. From now onwards, the security of travellers will increase.
Referring to many unwanted incidents, Benapole C and F Staff Association General Secretary Sajedur Rahman also said there were many incidents of theft where the offenders could have been identified if there had been CC cameras. Cameras can ensure security for passengers and help stop smuggling.
Mizanur Rahman Khan, former president of the Jashore Chamber of Commerce, said CC camera was the demand of traders for a long while as many traders were victims of harassment and financial losses in the past.
Benapole Customs Joint Commissioner Abdur Rashid hopes that after setting the cameras, it will be easier to monitor all activities of the port, and hopefully, trade will be boosted, which will contribute to the economy of the country.
In 1972, import-export trade started with neighbouring India through the Benapole land port which facilitates 70% of the country's land trade.
About Tk40,000 crore worth of imports and Tk8,000 crore worth of exports are traded with India through the port every year, from where the government earns revenue worth around Tk6,000 crore.