The Financial Express

19 Indian truck drivers, helpers stranded at Benapole port

Indian authorities allegedly not taking them back

| Updated: May 31, 2020 14:14:49

Seven of the 19 Indian truck drivers pose for photograph — FE Photo Seven of the 19 Indian truck drivers pose for photograph — FE Photo

BENAPOLE: A total of 19 Indian truck drivers and their helpers got stranded at Benapole port terminal for the past one and a half months. They want to return home.

They don't want help, they just want to return to their country. It is alleged that the Indian authorities are not taking them back.

As a result, the truck drivers and their helpers are living an inhuman life.

Importers and local C&F agent traders in Bangladesh said the indian drivers and helpers are stranded at Benapole port terminal due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sajedur Rahman, general secretary of the Benapole C&F Agent Staff Association alleged that the matter was reported to the Indian authorities but they did not take necessary action in this regard.

According to the Benapole Land Port Authority, the truck drivers brought various types of goods including industrial raw materials to Bangladesh through Benapole Land Port on March 20, the day before the lockdown was announced in India. India has not repatriated them since the goods were unloaded at Benapole port.

"We got stranded in Bangladesh for carrying goods," said Sitaram, a truck driver from Uttar Pradesh, Indiaadding India's Petrapole land port authority refused to take back us. I can't communicate with my family members. There is no money in my pocket for a long time. I am sleeping inside the car unfed, he aded.

People from Benapole Port, Customs and C&F agents occasionally provided them with some food aid. Life can't not go on like this. They don't want food aid, they want to return to their country.

Kartik Chakraborty, general secretary, Staff Welfare Association of C&F agent at the Petrapole land port in India, said the coronavirus was panicking and blocking the entry of drivers, including trucks, without permission from the higher authorities.

We are also trying to get permission from the authorities. Indian drivers will come to India from Bangladesh with trucks as soon as they get permission, he added.

Mamun Kabir Tarafdar, Deputy Director, Benapole Land Port Authority, said, "In the current situation, trucks and drivers have been kept inside the land port terminal. Ports, customs and C&F agents are constantly providing food assistance to the drivers. Sometimes the drivers and the helpers are cooking by themselves in the port terminal. He also said that he has contacted the higher authorities to resolve the issue quickly. Drivers and trucks will be returned at any time if allowed.


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