Import-export resumed through Tamabil border crossing in Sylhet from 11 am on Monday after trade activities had been suspended there since last March due to the lockdown to curb Covid-19 infections.
Confirming the matter to The Business Standard, Ruhul Amin, assistant commissioner of Tamabil Land Port, said four trucks carrying stones from India entered Bangladesh on Monday. Twelve trucks arrived on Wednesday afternoon and four on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a report published in the daily Shillong Times from Shillong, the capital of the Indian state of Meghalaya, on Wednesday reads that trucks carrying stones from Bhutan to Bangladesh pass through the state's Dalu town. As a result, the Dalu Area Citizens' Forum has called for a two-day non-cooperation movement to stop truck movement, citing the risk of Covid-19 infection in the town.
They have also given a memorandum to the chief minister of the state to stop the movement of trucks to Bangladesh.
Ruhul Amin said he did not know anything about the movement in Meghalaya.
However, local traders say an indigenous group from Meghalaya has been blocking trucks from entering Bangladesh for a long time. Some organisations in Bangladesh are protesting against the entry of trucks into their area. Earlier, due to their movement, the activities of Tamabil Land Port could not start.
The traders said the local deputy commissioner held a meeting with the protesters at the Tamabil border on August 10. It was attended by importers and exporters of the two countries. The meeting decided to resume import-export activities after India's Independence Day (August 15). The activities of the port started on 16th August accordingly.
Ashraf Hossain Lipu, former general secretary of Tamabil Limestone, Stone and Coal Importers Group, said he knew about the meeting with Dalu activists but did not know about their movement anew.
He said mainly limestone and boulder stones are imported from India through Tamabil. Some boulder stones are also imported from Bhutan. However, no stone has come from Bhutan through this border crossing in the last five months.
Sarwar Hossain, general secretary of Tamabil Limestone, Stone and Coal Importers Group, said importers had a problem with the land port authorities over tariff. He said the port authorities were imposing additional tariffs on imported goods, as a result, the import stopped. However, a bilateral meeting on Wednesday afternoon resolved the issue. Now import and export have started again.
Sajib Mia, revenue officer at Tamabil land port, said the five-month shutdown had hurt traders, and the government had lost a huge amount of revenue as well.
As a precaution against Covid-19 infection, every Indian truck carrying goods has been disinfected at the initiative of the land port administration and in collaboration with trade associations. The trucks will be compulsorily sprayed with disinfectant when entering Bangladesh. In addition, the medical team engaged in Tamabil Immigration will ensure that the truck drivers bringing goods from India enter Bangladesh after their health is checked, he added.