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Obligations of Banglabandha Land Port

Banglabandha land port not fully operational even after 10 years.

The prospective Banglabandha land port in Panchagarh could not be made fully operational yet after 10 years of its inauguration due to non-implementation of the tripartite agreement between Bangladesh, India and Nepal. According to the experts, the government could earn huge revenue every year with full-fledged operation of the land port, located on an important point of India-Bangladesh border.

In view of expanding bilateral trade with Nepal and country economic development, Banglabandha land port was inaugurated on September 1, 1997. But, despite having great scope for increasing government revenue, job opportunity for unemployed youth and earning foreign exchange, the land port could not play an active role in the export-import sector. At present, Bangladesh and Nepal are carrying out export and import of goods in a small scale.

Considering the easy road communication with India, Nepal, Bhutan and China, the government and the Land Port Authority had constructed warehouse, truck parking yard, HB road, office building complex, customs immigration, telephone exchange, police barrack and other structures involving about Tk. 2 crore.

After the opening of the land port on May 22, 2004, the authorities announced its grand opening in July the same year, but it has not happened yet. Rather, the officials and employees of the Immigration Customs Department were closed.

A source at the land port told the news agency that the infrastructures of the land port are of no use as Nepalese goods-laden truck could not enter into Bangladesh in the absence of an accord yet to be signed between Nepal and India.

Exporters and importers of both Bangladesh and Nepal now have to adopt truck-to-truck loading and unloading system for transporting their goods across the border that proved costly and time-consuming.

A survey report of the district administration showed that the government could earn more revenue through a fully-operational Banglabandha land port than the Benapole land port. India will also be benefited as communication and transportation of goods through this land port would become easier for Jalpaiguri, Shiliguri and Darjeeling as well as the seven north-eastern Indian states, known as seven sisters, the report said.

M Abdur Rahman, general manager of Banglabandha Land Port Limited, is very much hopeful about the opening of the port soon following the recent visit of a team of National Board of Revenue.

According to Panchagarh Customs, Excise and VAT Circle Office, the government, through this land port, earned nearly Tk2.50 crore as import duty while goods worth Tk40 crore were exported till August during the current fiscal year. In 2005-06, import duty amounting to Tk1.30 crore was earned from this land port while goods worth Tk 36.23 crore were exported.

Panchagarh Chamber president Iqbal Kaiser said a new horizon would be opened up in the country economic sector if the Banglabandha land port started operation in full swing.