Work has resumed at the Benapole Land Port after an unusually long Eid vacation.Trading between India and Bangladesh started on Monday morning, but was low key as all the officials and workers of the Customs, port authority, C&F, and the transport agencies were yet to get back to work.Check Post Cargo department’s Assistant Revenue Officer Anjan Das told bdnews24.com that export and import through the port had not gained momentum and there were long queues on both sides of the border.
He said the extended holiday that began virtually on Tuesday had led to the piling up of unreleased goods and waiting trucks.
Benapole Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agent Association’s Senior Vice-President Nuruzzaman said there were hundreds of goods-laden trucks waiting on both sides.“I don’t think the situation will become normal before Sunday,” he said.“The offices opened on Monday, but the absence of most officials hampered both exports and imports and Customs’ activities,” he added.The Association’s Legal Affairs Secretary Mashiar Rahman said goods-laden trucks would not be able to run on the highways before Wednesday.The government had decided not to let any truck or covered van ply on highways for three days before and after Eid.“That’s why there is little possibility of releasing goods from the port,” Rahman added. “The trading and goods’ release process will take several days more to become normal.”However, Benapole port’s Assistant Director (Traffic) Abdul Jalil said the handling workers were ordered to release goods as fast as possible to avoid huge pressure due to the unreleased goods.Customs Assistant Commissioner Rezaul Karim said all the officials had been told to resume office soonest and keep releasing goods to clear the backlog created by the holidays. “Seventy percent raw materials of Bangladesh’s industrial factories come from India through Benapole port. The factories are yet to get their needed materials due to the long vacation here,” he said.Karim said the Customs officials were ordered to work after office hours and on the weekly holidays to tackle the extra pressure.India’s Petrapole Land Port C&F Staff Welfare Association Secretary Kartik Chakraborty told bdnews24.com that the vacation had left thousands of trucks stranded on their side too.The situation has led to a massive tailback at the Petrapole port area, he added.