Onion importers at Bhomra Land Port have incurred a loss of Tk2 crore in a week as half of the 925 tonnes of onions imported into Bangladesh till Tuesday were rotten after being stranded on the Indian side of the border following an export ban by the neighbouring country.
After slapping a ban on September 14, the Indian authorities, subject to certain conditions, allowed the trucks of onions with previous LC documents, to enter Bangladesh on September 17.
However, most of the onions became unfit for consumption as they were rotten after being stuck in trucks for seven to eight days.
According to the Revenue Officer at Bhomra Land Port, 721 tonnes of onions in 31 trucks on September 17, 108 tonnes in five trucks on September 20, and 96 tonnes in four trucks on September 21 arrived in the country. The LCs for these onions were done before the imports stopped.
Mostafizur Rahman Nasim, general secretary of the C & F Agents Association of Bhomra Land Port, said, "Fifty percent of the onions in each truck were rotten and unfit for consumption as they were stuck in India for seven to eight days. Another five to six trucks with all their required documents are expected to enter the country any time. Moreover, the onions that are in good condition are not in a condition to be taken out of Dhaka and Chattogram, and traders have to sell them at local markets."
The price of a truck of onions is around Tk10 lakh. So, the traders have lost Tk5 lakh per truck of onions. Moreover, the onions that are still stuck on the other side are no longer in a condition to be eaten. Altogether, the traders have lost about Tk10 crore, he added.
Kamruzzaman Mukul, the proprietor of Messrs Shakib Enterprise, a wholesale onion trader in Satkhira's Boro Bazar, said, "Almost all the onions coming from India are rotten. Even picking those onions is not possible. I am selling them at a wholesale rate of Tk50-60 per kilogramme; however, there are very few buyers for onions."
Mohsin Hossain, the revenue officer at Bhomra Land Port, said only 40 of 165 trucks, which were stuck in India, had entered the country so far. "No onion truck entered the country on Tuesday. India has not formally informed us as to why it has stopped onion exports."