Though the Petrapole-Benapole Integrated Check Post was announced it would work and follow 24×7 Customs Clearance system as per the decision taken on July 31, 2017 by the Government of India and Bangladesh Government, things are not working as planned.
Petrapole-Benapole Integrated Check Post is a major route for India-Bangladesh bilateral trade. In order to facilitate movement of cargo across the border, India and Bangladesh have agreed to operate Petrapole-Benapole ICP 24×7, with effect from August 1, 2017. Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), the implementing agencies on the Indian side, had issued necessary instructions as well in this regard. The 24×7 operationalization of Petrapole-Benapole ICP is expected to be a significant milestone towards expeditious clearance of cargo and, hence boost the bilateral trade between the two countries.
However, ground reality suggests a huge gap between adopted policy and execution of the same, especially from Bangladesh side. “We are welcoming the decision taken by the Government of India and Bangladesh Government to clear cargo at Petrapole-Benapole ICP 24×7. We are ready to work 24×7. However, there is huge problem in clearing cargo at this check post due to congestion. I think allied agencies and required infrastructure is not ready to clear cargo 24×7 in Bangladesh. As a result, trucks are standing in long queue to get clearance. I personally had several meetings with concerned authorities and CHA Association leaders in Bangladesh, but unfortunately there is no positive outcome so far. I earnestly appeal to the Government of India to address this issue urgently for the greater interest of border /exim trade,” said Mr Raju Goswami, Executive Committee Member, FFFAI and President, Calcutta Customs House Agents’ Association (CCHAA). Mr Goswami was also highly optimistic about the success of BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) route for the benefit of entire South and South East Asian countries.
The new President of CCHAA Mr Goswami also took special initiatives to resolve the long-pending issues pertaining to Calcutta Port. “I hope some positive actions would be taken by the Shipping Lines, Port Authority and allied agencies to streamline cargo operations at Kolkata Port which is deplorable at present,” he maintained. Especially, roads under the Port authority have to be improved drastically.
Elaborating on future programmes of CCHAA Mr Goswami emphasized on consistent campaign in his region to make the FIATA World Congress 2018 an astounding success. In addition, CCHAA will organize its annual convention in May 2018, likely during the FFFAI EC meeting in Kolkata, where CHAs, Freight Forwarders, logistics companies, shippers and representatives from high commissions will be invited to explore business opportunities.