Farakka Barrage repair work cuts Hili trade by 50%

Halim Al Raji, Hili
Published : 04:00, Dec 09, 2018 | Updated : 04:00, Dec 09, 2018

An Indian truck at a level crossing in Hili, Dinajpur. PHOTO/Halim Al RajiDue to maintenance work on the Farakka Barrage in India, the transport of goods through the Hili land port in Dinajpur has dropped considerably.
Earlier, on an average, 200-250 trucks carrying onions, stones, and other goods crossed the port daily. Now the number has dropped to 100-120 trucks per day.
The restoration process of the Farakka Barrage in India started on Monday, December 4, due to which import-export through the port has come down to half.
On December 4 the total number of trucks entering the port was 101 and on Dec 5 the number was 113.
However on Dec 6, only 96 trucks carrying goods of different sorts entered Bangladesh through the Hili land port.
Indian Hili C&F agent Khokan Sarkar said: “Just like previous years the renovation of the Farakka Barrage in India has started on Dec 4, due to which heavy trucks will not be allowed to use the barrage for around 15 days. However low-weight cargo trucks carrying onions and other goods will be able to use the barrage to reach Hili port. Because of the current proceedings the trucks have to take an extended route which has resulted in increase of cost for trade between Bangladesh and India through the Hili land port. This has resulted in a significant drop in the import-export between Bangladesh and India through this port. Things will remain the same for the next 15 days.”
Hilli land port Importer-Exporter Association President Harun Ur Rashid Harun said: “Indian exporters are unable to export extensively due to the reconstruction of Farakka Barrage in India. Because of this, only onions and some other goods are entering through the port. I am hopeful that the current situation will go back to normal when the reconstruction of the barrage is done.”
Hili land port management authority Panama Hili Port Link Ltd Public Relations Officer Sohrab Hossain said: “Around 200-250 trucks carrying light to heavy weight goods used to enter Bangladesh using the Hili land port. But now the number of trucks entering the port has decreased to 100-120 per day. Not only is the government losing revenue because of the current situation but the port management is also suffering. We are hoping for a rapid solution to this problem.”