Businessmen in Agartala have shown interest in resuming import of food items from Bangladesh through the Akhaura Land Port, as the ongoing lockdown in India has halted the supply of these essentials to Tripura.
Indian businessmen said they will resume import if the Agartala customs allows them to bring in fish, fruit and other food items.
Bangladeshi businessmen also hoped that export to the neighbouring Indian state of Tripura might resume within two-three days. Workers at the land port are also preparing to go back to work soon.
Bangladeshi businessmen said goods worth around $60,000-$70,000 will make their way through the land port to the neighboring country per day if export to India resumes. However, transporting goods to the border during the shutdown in Bangladesh is a matter of concern.
Businessmen from Agartala have contacted us for export from Bangladesh. Export through the port will hopefully resume in two or three days if Agartala customs allows it," said Md Shafikul Islam, General Secretary of the Akhaura Land Port Importers and Exporters Association.
However, Shafikul said trade of non-food items will remain suspended for now amid the novel coronavirus spread.
India went into a 21-day lockdown since March 24. Businessmen in Agartala, Tripura state also suspended import and export through the Akhaura Land Port following the lockdown triggered by coronavirus spread in India.
However, scarcity of food in the state prompted by the lockdown is now forcing Indian businessmen to rethink their decision.
However, there are other issues to worry about as Bangladeshi businessmen Shafikul said. Bangladesh is also going through an unannounced lockdown, he added.
"We are not sure if we will be able to manage goods and vehicles to send to the other side of the border. Upon getting approval of the Agartala customs, we will talk to Bangladeshi authorities," said Shafikul.
Bangladesh exports oil, cement, coal, stone, fish and dried fish, plastic products and food items to Tripura through the Akhaura-Agartala route. As many as 40-50 goods-laden trucks enter India daily during normal times.
Daily export through the route amounts to nearly $0.2-0.3 million.