The import of oxygen at Benapole land port stopped abruptly with India no longer exporting this precious resource in their second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The import of oxygen from India continued till Wednesday last through this port, traders said, adding that no oxygen was imported in the last four days from the neighbouring country.
Sources said a large portion of Bangladesh's medical oxygen demand is met by imports from India. Around 30 thousand tons of oxygen is imported every month from India through Benapole alone.
Benapole port sources said due to friendship between the two countries, Bangladesh's oxygen imports from India remained uninterrupted at this land port even during this Covid-19 pandemic.
India exported 690 tons of oxygen to Bangladesh through Benapole port from 13 April to Wednesday last. But the country, without notice suddenly halted export of this precious resource, since it was now facing acute shortages of this emergency medical resource in several Indian states.
Under these circumstances, Indian exporters told Bangladeshi traders that they had temporarily stopped exporting oxygen to Bangladesh at the insistence of their government.
Motiar Rahman, director of the Bangladesh-India Chamber of Commerce, said, "Bangladesh is now facing the second wave of the coronavirus, a time when the country needs the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen in treating critically ill Covid patients. But India itself is now facing severe shortage of this medical resource with the second wave of the pandemic hitting India hard."
"But I hope that considering India's long-standing friendship with Bangladesh, India will continue to export liquid oxygen to Bangladesh," he added.
Mofizur Rahman Sajan, president of the Benapole C&F Agent Association, said considering the good relationship with our neighbouring country, India would likely continue to export oxygen to Bangladesh, though on a limited scale.