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Strike hits trade between Tripura, Bangladesh

Posted on Feb 20, 04:32PM | IANS

Agartala, Feb 20 : Trade between Tripura and Bangladesh was hit Wednesday as central trade unions commenced their two-day country wide strike, an official here said.

"Trade was badly affected as hundreds of trucks were stranded on either side of the Akhaurah checkpost and other LCS (land customs stations) in Tripura due to the shutdown," a customs official here said.

"Over 200 trucks filled with Bangladeshi goods have been stranded on the other side of the border and are unable to cross the Akhaurah LCS in view of the strike in Tripura," the official added.

Major trade unions have called the nationwide, two-day strike Wednesday and Thursday.

"Over 700 workers are involved in the trading works at the Akhaurah checkpost and other LCS. As this workforce, besides drivers and their aides, have joined the strike, the export-import business between the two countries has become crippled," Habul Biswas, Agartala Exporters-Importers Association general secretary, told reporters.

Akhaurah is one of the most important international trading land ports in northeast India with an average of 200 Bangladeshi trucks loaded with goods coming to Tripura every day.

"Due to the strike and closure of Indo-Bangla trade through Akhaurah, the central and Tripura governments would lose Rs.2 million as customs duty and sales tax every day," said Biswas.

According to Biswas, on an average, business worth Rs.15 million takes place everyday through Akhaurah, the second most important international trading land port along India and Bangladesh after the Petrapol-Banepole checkpost in West Bengal.

Trade between India and Bangladesh has been taking place through Akhaurah and five other land customs stations in Tripura, which shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh.