Indian exporters have sought resumption of border trade from today after importers in Bangladesh said demand for grains and vegetables is on the rise in their country during Ramadan.
Responding to a written plea from Bangladeshi importers for the restart of the trade that was halted in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, representatives of the Mahadipur Exporters' Association sought the intervention of the Malda district administration, Telegraph India reported.
Every day, around 300 trucks laden with onions, garlic, ginger, oil-cakes, fruits and stone chips go to Bangladesh through Mahadipur land port. On the other side is Sona Masjid, a land port in the Chapainawabganj district of Bangladesh.
As the demand of vegetables and fruits goes up during Ramadan, the Sona Masjid Importers' and Exporters' Association urged the officials of customs, immigration, BSF and the exporters' association of Mahadipur to resume the trade.
In the letter sent to the exporters on April 24, Mohammed Toufiqur Rahman Babu, secretary of the association, promised that they would ensure safety measures for the drivers and helpers of Indian trucks which would unload goods in Bangladesh.
"The goods would be emptied at Sona Mosjid Panama Link Port and the carriers do not have to go anywhere else in Bangladesh," Rahaman said.
Prasenjit Ghosh, the secretary of the Mahadipur Exporters' Association, said: "We realise the necessity of vegetables and grains in Bangladesh and hence, we have requested the Malda district administration to take necessary measures for the resumption of the export from Monday. We are yet to receive a response from the administration. A delegation of exporters might again meet the district magistrate with the same appeal."
The exporters pointed out that the Union home secretary had already written to Bengal, saying cross-border trade with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh should resume. But the state is yet to take a call.
Asked about the exporters' demand, Malda district magistrate Rajarshi Mitra said: "We understand the situation but unless we get a clear directive from the state, we cannot take any initiative."
As of now, around 800 trucks laden with onions, maize, ginger, garlic, spices and oil-cake are left stranded at Mahadipur. The exporters said those items would perish if the border trade didn't resume soon.