Benapole trapped in holidays

Strikes and holidays—Shab-e-Qadr, Eid-ul-Fitr, National Morning Day, weekends– have crippled Benapole, Bangladesh’s largest land port.

Due to holidays and strikes on either side of the border, during the next 13 days, from August 6 to August 18, the port will remain operational only four days—August 7 to 12 and August 14.

Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a 48-hour strike from Aug 12. This will lead to a long queue of stranded trucks on both sides of the border, the Port officials believe.

Import and export of goods would be stalled, but movement of people would remain unaffected, officials said.

On the other side of Benapole is India’s Petrapole port. The Indian port will also be closed from Aug 8 to Aug 11, its C and F Staff Welfare Association secretary Kartik Chakraborti told bdnews24.com.

And Benapole will be again shut for Shab-e-Qadr on Tuesday (Aug 6) and from Aug 8 to 10 for Eid-ul-Fitr.

Jamaat has called for nationwide shutdown on Aug 12 and 13. The port is open for import and exports on Aug 14, but it will be closed again the following day on account of the National Mourning Day in Bangladesh and Independence Day in India.

Benapole Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association deputy president Sirajul Islam Siraj said exports and imports of good would resume after Aug 12 when Eid holiday ends. But transporting good from there to the rest of the country would not be possible for Jamaat’s strike.

Siraj said, duty division at the port remain closed on weekends. But export and import are carried out through the port.

Kartik Chakraborti said hundreds of goods-laden trucks were already awaiting clearence at Petrapole’s truck terminal, parking and Bongaon terminal. The matter will get worse during the off days.

“All these goods will enter Benapole from Petrapole after the end of the holiday. This will cripple the ports.”

Benapole International Check-post Immigration Police Inspector Kamaruzzaman said passport carrying passengers would have no trouble passing through the port.

Source: bdnews24

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