Several hundred Bangladeshis wait to cross border

Shahidul Islam Chowhury | Published: 23:50, May 04,2021


Several hundred Bangladesh nationals, including scores of minor students, are waiting in India for clearance from Bangladesh missions there to return home as the clearance is issued based on accommodation capacities at the quarantine facilities inside Bangladesh meant for them.

The Jashore district admission is now looking for local hotels in Khulna and adjacent districts to use as quarantine places for potential inbound passengers as the quarantine facilities in Benapole have saturated, foreign ministry secretary Mashfee Binte Shams told New Age on Tuesday.

Now, 250 to 300 Bangladeshis with clearance enter the country through the Benapole land port from India per day and several dozens each through the Burimari and Akhaura land ports as the border with India was closed on April 25 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Jashore deputy commissioner Tamijul Islam Khan said that the Benapole land port, the largest of all, was overcrowded with the returnees from India as quarantine facilities are limited there, according to our correspondent in the district.

A total of 1,600 Bangladeshis have returned to the country from India using the Benapole land port since April 27, he said

The Bangladesh deputy high commission in Kolkata informed Tamijul that a total of 2,500 Bangladeshis were given permission to return to the country using the Benapole port.

‘The returnees have been accommodated at quarantine facilities in Jashore, Khulna, Satkhira, Jhenidah and Narail besides Benapole,’ the deputy commissioner added.

The Bangladesh high commission in New Delhi and the deputy high commission in Kolkata are working to evacuate about 450 Bangladeshi minor students, girls and boys, from convents in different Indian states maintaining local health regulations and quarantine services as the authorities have shut down the schools they study in, said Bangladesh diplomats in India. 

About 100 minor students would be initially evacuated through the Burimari land port in Lalmonirhat district possibly next week, they said.  

Confirming the maintenance of health regulations of several thousand Indian truckers after they cross the Bangladesh border with goods through 12 land ports almost every day has become a huge challenge, said a land port authority official in Dhaka.  

Indian trucks and lorries are sanitised immediately after they cross the border, while the truckers are to wait at restricted places and avail designated sheds, lavatory facilities installed at remote places before going back to India after unloading the goods on the same day, according to the standard operating procedure agreed by the two sides, said an official.

‘But it is very difficult to monitor the compliance with the SOP by each of the truckers,’ he said.

About 4,000 Indian truckers enter Bangladesh every day as about 2,000 trucks and lorries get in with goods through the land ports, while 1,200 vehicles enter through the Benapole land port alone, said the official.

Bangladesh people unload the goods at the land ports, he added.

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