Delhi assures Dhaka of 'prioritising' entry, exit in cargo transit to and from Nepal, Bhutan

Doulot Akter Mala | Published: October 15, 2018 09:51:50 | Updated: October 15, 2018 20:39:21

Collected photo

New Delhi has assured Dhaka of prioritising entry and exit of third country transit cargo to and from Nepal and Bhutan, officials said.

The assurances came following proposals of Bangladesh as the joint group of customs (JGC) between the countries sat in its 12th meeting in Delhi recently.

Bangladesh proposed that India keep the zero-point gate of Burimari-Changrabandha open at early hour (8:30 am or earlier), said the agreed minutes of the meeting.

The customs delegates suggested introduction of a separate lane for third country transit cargo.

They also recommended keeping both exit and entrance at Fulbari open to facilitate trade.

Dhaka urged its counterpart to set up a separate yard for Nepal and Bhutan cargo at land customs stations.

But Delhi cited barriers like narrow road for a separate lane and inadequate infrastructure for a separate yard at Fulbari and Changrabandha stations.

Both countries decided to conduct a feasibility study on introduction of automatic document processing and record management of export-import cargoes in Benapole-Petrapole land customs station (LCS).

It will help expedite release of export-import goods.

Bangladesh's proposal to introduce electronic car pass using 'Benapass' software will also be examined by India for its introduction on either side.

Both sides agreed that the car pass system will be implemented at Manu-Chatlapur, Bholaganj-Bholaganj, Muhurighat-Belonia, Mahendraraganj-Dhanua Kamalpur Mankachar-Rowmari within two months.

They also agreed to launch the exchange of information and relevant customs documents for selected commodities at all major customs stations by this December.

Dhaka requested Delhi to establish plant quarantine office at Ghojadanga, Hili and Fulbari LCSs.

There is no such office at Ghojadanga customs station.

For all export consignments of food items from Bangladesh, samples are collected and sent to Kolkata for testing. This is a time-consuming process.

To facilitate exports from Bangladesh, a plant quarantine office needs to be set up at Ghojadanga.

They agreed that LC reconciliation will be done regularly once every month at Hili, Mahadipur and Ghojadanga.

Dhaka urged Delhi to build a bridge over the Kushiara to ease trade through Jokiganj-Karimganj route.

It also sought necessary steps for faster clearance of fish exported from Akhaura to Agartala.

Dhaka said the export of perishable items gets hampered due to delayed test reports from Kolkata.

Delhi also requested Dhaka to upgrade infrastructure at Akhaura, Sonahat and resumption of trade through Chatlapur-Manu LCS by repairing a damaged bridge and installment of a weighbridge at Sheola LCS.

It sought relaxation of port restrictions for 20 more products like manufactured food items, medicines and surgical items, cosmetics, electrical items, motor parts, tea, bicycle, motorised three and two wheelers, spices and clinkers.

It also requested Dhaka to allow export-import of goods through different LCSs.

Bangladesh said the export of soybean oil, palm oil, palm olein under SAFTA concession from Bangladesh is facing obstacles from the Directorate of Intelligence of Indian customs.

According to the SAFTA, any such issue should be resolved through bilateral discussion.

The Indian side said investigations are under process on certain importers for suspected violations of the rules of origin norms under the SAFTA.

The Indo-Bangla trade grew 38 per cent to $9.1 billion over the past four years.

On a year-on-year basis, trade grew 24 per cent in 2017-18.


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