Bangladesh polls: Indo-Bangla trade stops for two days

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Agartala, Dec 30 (IANS) THe India-Bangladesh trade would be stopped for two days – Sunday and Monday – following general election in that country’s parliamentary polls, official said.

“The regular trade between Bangladesh and India would be stopped as elections for the ‘Bangladesh Sangsad’ (Bangladesh Parliament) are now on. Bangladesh traders’ bodies have informed their Indian counterparts,” said an official of the Customs Department.

He said regular trade through all checkposts and land customs stations along the 4,096-km borders is expected to be resumed by Wednesday.

“The movement of people across the two countries has decreased in the past few weeks,” the official added.

As the trade has been stopped, a shortage of various commodities, particularly the fish, has affected the markets of northeastern states, specially in Tripura.

On an average 14,000 kg of fish varieties, excluding the hilsa, is being imported from Bangladesh to Tripura through the Agartala-Akhaura integrated checkposts along the Agartala capital city.

A fish trader said over 200 labourers and transport workers remained jobless as there was no fish import.

Meanwhile, an official of the Agartala Land Port Authority said Bangladesh has reportedly lifted a 2012 ban on the export of their national fish hilsa (or Elish), whose key markets include India, to check its smuggling and tap into the growing global demand for the popular but scarce food species.

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce had banned the export of hilsa fish on August 1, 2012 due to its low availability.

“Though the Bangladesh government reportedly withdrew the ban on the export of hilsa fish to India, the decision was not executed through the India-Bangladesh border with Tripura,” the Agartala Land Port Authority official said.

Tripura imports on an average 32,000 kg fish daily from other states, specially from Andhra Pradesh, to meet its local demands.

Meanwhile, the Border Security Force (BSF) has heightened patrolling along the India-Bangladesh frontiers, said BSF Tripura Frontier officiating Inspector General (IG) Ashok Kumar Yadav.

“We have asked BSF commanders and troopers to keep a close watch on the borders. Patrolling has also been increased,” Yadav said.

–IANS

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