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Visual from West Bengal's Petrapole (ANI)
Visual from West Bengal's Petrapole (ANI)

Trade through Integrated Check Post Petrapole at India-Bangladesh border resumes

ANI | Updated: Jan 19, 2022 20:22 IST

New Delhi [India], January 19 (ANI): Facing disruptions for the last two days, international trade through Integrated Check Post (ICP) Petrapole at the India-Bangladesh border resumed on Wednesday.
The outcome followed an end to the strike of truck drivers which was going on for the last two days after the Border Security Force (BSF) seized 82 fake driving licences and implemented a complete ban on such drivers carrying fake driving licence to ply trucks to Bangladesh through ICP Petrapole.
The international trade through ICP Petrapole began with the Bangaon Goods Transporters Association calling off its strike at around 9 am after the assurance from the BSF, the India-Bangladesh border guarding force under the Ministry of Home Affairs which is also responsible to curb illegal activities.
As a result, import trucks parked inside the cargo complex have started unloading empty Indian trucks. The imports started at around 9.30 am and the exports were also started an hour later at around 10.37 am.
The Land Port Authority of India verbally assured BSF that they would issue identity cards to the transporters in the next four days.
ICP Petrapole is located along the international border between India and Bangladesh is the largest land port in South Asia. It is situated at a distance of about 80 km from the city of Kolkata, West Bengal
Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) is an important land border crossing for India Bangladesh both in terms of trade and passenger movement. Nearly 30 per cent of land-based trade between India and Bangladesh takes place through ICP Petrapole.
Since its operationalization in February 2016, the ICP has been witnessing an increasing number of passenger movements with an average of 22 lakh people crossing the border post on either side each year.
The trade through ICP Petrapole was disrupted on January 17 as the truck drivers called on a strike after the BSF seized 82 fake driving licences of truck drivers taking cognizance of spate in the smuggling activities at the ICP Petrapole in its operation conducted on January 16 and January 17.
On January 18 -19 also, the BSF seized a total of eight fake driving licences of truck drivers. A total of 90 fake driving licenses have been caught by BSF so far since January 16.
On behalf of BSF, an FIR is being registered in the police regarding a fake driving licence.
The BSF on Tuesday had said that its step to ban drivers with a fake driving licence was among many moves adopted by the force to upgrade its surveillance and vigilance measures.
The BSF had said, there were inputs that few drivers were involved in carrying out trans-border crimes such as smuggling of gold, silver, phensedyl syrup and drugs while engaged in the export and import of goods between India and Bangladesh.

Consequently, on January 16, the BSF said its personnel carried out the surprise checking of the authenticity of the driving licences of the drivers who were engaged in the export and import by road through ICP Petrapole.
BSF found fake driving licenses in the possession of the drivers and therefore, seized 52 such driving licenses on January 16. On January 17, again 30 more trucks drivers were found in the possession of fake driving licenses.
Accordingly, BSF handed over total of 82 fake driving licences to the Customs.
As the trade has resumed, the BSF said the concerned authorities of Customs and Land Port Authority of India have been conveyed that it cannot allow those trucks to go to Bangladesh whose drivers are found in the possession of fake driving licenses.
The BSF has also stated that "no driver with fake driving licence can be allowed to ply the trucks to Bangladesh at any cost because such drivers obtain fake Car Passes from the Customs Department on the basis of driving licenses upon which BSF allow the trucks to go inside Bangladesh".
In order to ensure the smooth running of the trade between India and Bangladesh, BSF has informed Bangaon Transport Association to follow the Standing Operating Procedure so that the security and interests of the Nations are not compromised.
Explaining about reasons on which BSF has beefed up the security at the ICP, the force said its personnel on January seized smuggled gold worth around Rs 1,44,22,356 from a transporter while he was trying to escape on a bike from the security cover at ICP Petrapole.
"It was subsequently revealed that this gold was smuggled from Bangladesh by concealing inside an import bound truck from Bangladesh," the BSF said.
A similar seizure was made on July 19 last year when gold worth Rs 1,71,80,420 was seized here by BSF from an Indian driver incoming from Bangladesh, the BSF said.
In yet another incident on August 21 last year, the BSF said, foreign currency (Saudi Riyal) worth Rs 1,68,38,500 was also seized from an empty Indian truck returning from Bangladesh after unloading export goods.
Acting on intelligence, 50 Kg of Marijuana was seized by troops of BSF from an Indian truck on January 9 this year at this ICP.
Besides, the BSF also said, numerous seizures of illegal items including narcotics are made by its troops deployed at ICP Petrapole.
In all these illegal activities, role of Indian transporters, labourers, drivers, helpers and different agents and sub agents have been established, the BSF said.
"It is also worth mentioning here that sometimes, drivers with fake driving licenses tend to meet road accidents. Even BSF lost life of one of its Jawan when he was overrun by a truck driver in the month of October 2021. Therefore, it is necessary that BSF might check the validity of the driving license," the BSF added. (ANI)