Exports to resume after cross-border truck movement begins today

The cross-border movement of trucks between India and Bangladesh through Changrabandha Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Cooch Behar will resume on Thursday after it remained suspended for almost three months in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

A set of advisories to carry out the task following precautionary measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19 has been issued following a meeting of all the stakeholders including truck operators, workers’ unions and the ICP authorities on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that the state government has allowed the movement of trucks at Changrabandha. “There had been repeated requests from Bangladesh to resume the service. The state government has decided to give its nod for the same,” Banerjee had said adding that the decision was taken following discussions with the local residents.

Export Associations’ Secretary Mulchand Buchcha said: “We welcome the decision of the Chief Minister. Soon after the clearance is given by the state government, all the necessary work at the check post has begun on war footing.”

He further added that there are around 1,500 to 2,000 trucks stranded at the border. “Though cross-border movement of trucks was about to start on Wednesday, we have taken one day’s time to ensure all precautionary measures are in place and operations will begin from Thursday. Initially, a maximum of 75 to 100 trucks will be operating,” Buchcha said adding that after every cross-border movement, each vehicle will be sanitised at the entry/exit point of the border.

Trucks have to return to India on the same day avoiding overnight cross-border halt and movement will take place only at the day time for the time being.

Details of drivers moving across the border shall be shared by the Customs authority with the local administration and police stations through e-mail on an everyday basis.

Thermal screening of each driver will be carried out every time they cross the border. They have also been directed to maintain physical distance and use masks and gloves. The Customs authority will immediately contact the local administration or the block medical officer (health) for subsequent steps if anyone is found symptomatic during screening at the border.