DHUBRI: Has international border trading through Dhubri River Port turning out to be a smuggling den? This is the moot query among the conscious circle here.
Assistant Commissioner of Bangladesh High Commission in Guwahati, Dr. Shah Mohammad Tanvir Mansur formed an association of traders. Traders in the association allegedly evaded many international trading official norms and protocol, held a meeting within the premises of Dhubri International River Port (Port of Call) and inaugurated Indo-Bangladesh trade on December 26.
When these anomalies and break of the protocol were reported in The Sentinel on December 29, 2019, Dhubri Deputy Commissioner Anant Lal Gyani swung into action and instructed all the departments concerned, including Dhubri Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) and Customs officials, to take action as per law codified by the Government of India.
Gyani, when contacted, told The Sentinel that he had asked the officials concerned to lodge an FIR as it was a case of international smuggling. When the in-depth investigation was carried out by this scribe, it was found that a total of 18 dumpers of stone crushers were brought to Dhubri River Port from Bhutan for shipping them to Bangladesh.
Each dumper contained 16 to 17 tons of crushers, but as alleged, 27 tons were brought in and they escaped all the forest check gates right from Bhutan to Dhubri.
“There are 20 consignments in the pipeline and traders from Bangladesh are camping in Dhubri and Guwahati and trying to manage the things for smooth shipment of stone crushers,” said a source familiar to international trading through Sonahat International Trade Centre of Dhubri district. When contacted over the phone by The Sentinel, Dhubri DFO Biswajit Roy, who was in Guwahati, said that he had had already instructed the Dhubri River Port Officials not to load the consignment. “I will reach Dhubri by tomorrow and examine the papers with the Customs Office in Dhubri and accordingly take action,” Roy said. In-charge Officer of Dhubri International River Port, KD Thongon could not be contacted over the phone as he was not available in the office.
A source said that the consignment of this stone crusher was to be transported to Chilamari of Bangladesh which is 62 km from Dhubri River Port. Stone crushers from Bhutan are high in demand there for riverbank protection works and other construction projects.
Earlier, the Dhubri district administration took a serious exception to the visit of Bangladesh Assistant Commissioner to Dhubri International River Port and inauguration of goods transportation through this port between India and Bangladesh while keeping the administration in the dark.
“Dhubri district administration was not in know about the meeting and subsequent inauguration of river transportation by Assistant Commissioner of Bangladesh High Commission in Guwahati, Dr. Shah Mohammad Tanvir Mansur. It is a serious breach of protocol that the administration concerned was not only kept away from the program but also not even informed it,” a source in the administration said.