Trade at two transit points on the India-Bangladesh border has been halted to curb the spread of novel coronavirus.
"The restrictions will be effective till March 31. After that we will meet to take stock of the situation and decide on the course of action," said Bimal Kumar Ghosh, secretary of the Changrabandha Exporters' Association, The Telegraph India reported.
The two transit points are located at Changrabandha in Cooch Behar and Fulbari in Jalpaiguri district.
Trade, however, is continuing at the Hilli transit point in South Dinajpur and Mahadipur in Malda district, sources said.
The Changrabandha Clearing and Forwarding Agents Welfare Association and the hangrabandha Truck Owners' Association have supported the decision, Bimal Kumar said.
At Changrabandha, which has Burimari in Bangladesh on the other side, goods worth around $2 lakh are exported to Bangladesh and items worth around $1.25 lakh are imported to India every day.
On an average, 600 trucks enter Bangladesh from India through Changrabandha every day carrying dolomite, stones, pebbles and boulders. From Bangladesh, biscuits, fruit juices and cotton are imported. Around 250 trucks from India and Bhutan carrying boulders enter Bangladesh through Fulbari.
The North 24-Parganas administration has imposed restrictions on the movement of lorries from outside Bengal to the Petrapole land port. Beginning on March 20 night, police are telling outstation lorries to either return or remain stationed at nearby parking lots.
The initiative has prompted many transporters to turn back with their goods meant for Bangladesh. Some lorries have got stranded, while some others have unloading their goods in open spaces to be ferried by local carriers.