Indo Bangladesh cross border trade of stone boulder has come to a halt following hike in import duty by Bangladesh authority. Thousands of stranded loaded trucks in Indian Land Customs Stations(LCS) at Fulbari and Changrabandha have become a major concern for stake holders of the trade in Indian side.
We are facing the crisis despite no problem from Indian authority,” said Mulchand Bucha, President, Changrabandha Exporters Association.
As he explained, Fulbari and Changrabandha, these two land customs stations in northern side of West Bengal are main gateways for Bangladesh to import stone boulders from India. More than 15 major hilly rivers, those touchdown foothills forming huge river bed in north Bengal region, are the sources of these boulders, highly preferred in civil constructions for its physical property and value for money.
As estimated, around 800 trucks load of boulder go to Bangladesh a day through these two LCS forming an export volume of over Rs 600 crore per annum. “This has come to a halt. We have taken it up with Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry and expecting an early resolution,” said Ujjal Saha, General Secretary of West Bengal Exporters Coordination Committee.
According to Bucha, Bangladesh customs used to charge import duty considering minimum acceptable price of boulders as USD 10 per ton. But recently it has been enhanced to USD 12 that has pushed up applicable import duty from around Bangladeshi Taka 430 to 510 per ton. (Eqv. INR 358 to 424.). Moreover, “This hike will have a retrospective effect from January 2019 exerting immense pressure on the importers,” said Saha.
Protesting to all these, importers have stopped receiving stock at LCS.