You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

Centre pulls up West Bengal for suspending trade on Indo-Bangla border

Operations at Petrapole checkpost in the Bongaon area of North 24 Parganas district was closed as protests erupted after rumours of Bangladeshi labourers carrying the virus

Coronavirus | International trade | Lockdown

Avishek Rakshit  |  Kolkata 

trucks, road, transport, industry, manufacturing, production
In the letter, Bhalla said that closing this border will have larger international repercussions for India regarding its “legally binding international commitments”.

The Centre has yet again pulled up the – this time for violating the Centre’s order on cross-border movement of goods between India and

In a letter, addressed to West Bengal’s chief secretary, Rajiva Sinha, union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “This act of the state government of West Bengal, amounts to violation of the orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 as well as Articles 253, 256 and 257 of the Constitution of India”.

While India has trade ties with Bangladesh, which has no restrictions on import and export of goods, the has closed its porous borders with its eastern neighbour in a move to contain the spread of the pandemic.

“There is some commotion in Petrapole.

There are some issues and we will address them”, West Bengal’s home secretary, Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.

Since the start of the in March, the Petrapole checkpost in the Bongaon area of North 24 Parganas district, 83 km from Kolkata; had reopened on April 30. However, protests erupted in the area on the presumption that Bangladeshi labourers were carrying the virus which would affect Indian drivers and helpers and operations closed down on the same day.

ALSO READ: Govt leans on unions to make workers stay back in cities as economy sinks

In the letter, Bhalla said that closing this border would have larger international repercussions for India regarding its “legally binding international commitments”.

Appealing to open the border for trade immediately, Bhalla has asked West Bengal to send a compliance report.

In an earlier communication last month, Bhalla said that West Bengal had closed its international borders with Nepal as well as Bhutan unilaterally, affecting India’s international interests.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus LIVE: Govt says high rate of Covid-19 deaths in West Bengal

While movement of goods to Nepal and Bhutan as eased, the same has not been the case with India has friendly relations with these three countries.

It is estimated that over 2100 trucks, carrying essential supplies towards are held up at the Petrapole border in West Bengal since March and drivers returning to India from Bangladesh are also denied entry by the

The state’s chief minister, has previously elucidated on the strategic position of West Bengal and stated that borders needed to be closed to contain Covid-19 spread in the state.

Opposition attacks, TMC retaliates After facing attacks from opposition parties, the governor, the Centre and others, in its aptness of controlling Covid-19 and the lockdown, Trinamool Congress has started its political retaliation with party leaders like Derek O’Brien, Partha Chatterjee, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Chandrima Bhattacharya and others attacking the state’s governor, the Centre and the BJP.

O’Brien, on Wednesday alleged that the PM Cares fund, where large corporate houses have donated generously, is a BJP fund in effect and funds are not being given to states by the Centre.

Party leaders attacked the BJP of spreading fake to destabilise West Bengal and mislead people as well as refered to BJP ruled states like Gujarat which witnessed several violations.

The moves after party strategist Prashant Kishore travelled to West Bengal during the and opposition parties daily pulled up the state government for its failure to handle the Covid-19 situation as well as the lockdown.

First Published: Wed, May 06 2020. 19:57 IST