Trade thru Hili land port at a standstill
Cross-border trade through Hili land port in Hakimpur upazila of Dinajpur has been suspended indefinitely as Indian truckers are protesting allegations of weight tampering in export shipments, according to local businesspeople.
Bangladeshi importers recently alleged that Indian trucks carrying their goods weighed less upon entry than the amount stated on papers provided by the neighbouring nation.
Customs officials measure each inbound truck on the port's weigh bridge, which is certified by the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, said Md Rabiul Islam, secretary for port affairs of the Hili Land Port Importers-Exporters Group.
After finding these disparities, Bangladeshi importers informed their Indian suppliers on the matter. Several hundred Indian truckers then began an indefinite strike at around 11:00am yesterday and later staged a demonstration at Zero Point in protest.
A recent investigation into the issue found that the weight disparity is between the amount stated when weighed by the Indian side and the weight measured when entering Bangladesh.
Sujan Ghosh, president of the Indian Hili Truckers Association, told local journalists that Indian port authorities take weight readings of every truck before sending them to Bangladesh.
"So, the allegations against them are false and fabricated," he said, adding that the weight reading by Bangladeshi authorities is not acceptable.
Harun Ur Rashid, president of the Importers- Exporters Group, said Bangladeshi traders are being considerably short-changed in terms of weight, which is unacceptable.
"There must be an end to such problems in any way possible," he added.
Mahmudul Hasan, revenue officer for customs at Hili land port, said no truck has entered Bangladesh through the port since the strike began.
However, Kamrul Hasan, deputy commissioner of customs at Hili land port, said the issue is not between the two countries, but rather the importers and exporters.
Businesses of both the sides are trying to find a solution to the problem, Hasan said.