AGARTALA: Export-import through the Manu Land Custom Station is yet to resume due to a ban imposed by the district administration following a protest by a section of local people and the Kailasahar Merchants Association. The decision caused a commotion between the exporters and the local administration as the former alleged that they had to incur a loss to the tune of more than Rs 2 crore due to the "whimsical order" of the administration. It is a big loss for the government also as this port generates Rs 210 crore every year.
The District Magistrate had issued the order after a section of the people protested the reopening of trade through the port in view of the outbreak of coronavirus in Bangladesh. They feared that it may spill over to this side of the border if export-import is allowed.
Similar opposition was witnessed in all other land ports like Agartala, Sonamura, Belonia and Dharmanagr. In all these places, the administration took a pro-active role and convinced the local people and reopened trade after taking adequate steps for total sanitization of the port area.
In Kailasahar, the district administration failed to take any pro-active step and was influenced by a decision of the Nagar Panchayat which supported the demand raised by locals against the reopening of trade. Bulbul Chakraborty and Nitish Dey, chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Nagar Panchayat respectively claimed they took the decision to save the people from infection.
The Manu Land Port is especially known for exporting fruits like grapes, apple, orange, etc. Leaders of the Exporters Association Gourchand Adhikari, Abu Taher Jalaluddin, Ahidujjaman and Nilotpal Basu said they prepared the ground after getting a green signal from the authority concerned but due to the arbitrary order of the district administration, they had to incur a loss at the tune of Rs 2 crore.
The District Magistrate advised them to export the goods via Agartala port which they said is not possible as many other issues are involved with it. Moreover, the Bangladeshi importers may not agree to accept the consignment via Agartala.