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Thursday, Dec 12, 2002

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Foodgrains export to Bangladesh — FIEO urged to sort out rake shortage with Rlys

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Dec. 11

THE Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Eastern Region, has been urged by exporters of commodities such as wheat and rice to Bangladesh to sort out the problem of inadequate placing of rakes by the Railways.

Complaining that wheat and rice consignments to Bangladesh were being held up owing to non-availability of rakes, after getting the necessary release orders (Ros) from Food Corporation of India (FCI), exporters in the region pointed out that a huge quantity of outstanding stocks of wheat and rice were lying with FCI authorities here for want of rakes. Payments had been made in advance.

According to Mr T.M. Saha of Krishna Traders, a recognised trading house, after getting ROs from FCI, indents had been placed with railway authorities against respective letters of credit (LCs), as required by FCI. He was apprehensive that owing to non-placement of rakes by the Railways for quite some time now, stocks from FCI godowns could not be lifted and consequently, LCs may expire.

The negative fall-out for his company, he explained, could occur on two fronts: mounting bank interest on the money that is paid upfront for lifting the stocks, and danger of losing regular customers who may have their funds blocked on account of LC.

The Bangladeshi buyers, he said, were already complaining about failure to stick to delivery schedules. While the concerned railway authorities could not be contacted, as the indents were on the Northern Railway (for consignments emanating from Kapurtala), Mr Saha said, as per enquiries made by him, priority was being given by the Railways for carrying foodgrain for domestic distribution in place of export. Shortage of rakes was mainly on account of this situation, he maintained.

Explaining how difficult the situation was, Mr Saha said the quota allotted for an indent placed in November at Kapurtala (in Punjab), against an RO dated October 10 for 1,942.5 tonnes of wheat lapsed as the Railways failed to place the wagon. Krishna Traders, as on November 30, had an outstanding indent list (wheat and rice) of as many as 15, for dates (of ROs) ranging between September 16 and November 23, mainly for rake loadings from Kapurtala and Sultanpur Lodhi points. FIEO sources said the matter was being taken up with the Railways.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta Fruit Exporters' Association, in a recent representation to FIEO, had sought extension of assessed shipping bills for export of fruit consignments to Bangladesh.

It was pointed out that on account of Id holidays in Bangladesh, the association members were not able to export the material between December 5 and 8. FIEO has been urged to use its good offices to impress upon the Kolkata Customs authorities to talk to their counterparts in Benapole, Bangladesh, for allowing all the shipping bills for different commodities, as and when exports are resumed.

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Foodgrains export to Bangladesh — FIEO urged to sort out rake shortage with Rlys

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