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Indefinite strike threat again over Bangla exports

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KOLKATA, Feb. 19

EXPORTS to Bangladesh via the Petrapole Land Customs Station (LCS) in West Bengal, which resumed on Monday after a 48-hour stoppage because of a skirmish between the BSF personnel and some khalasis of Indian trucks on Saturday last, is again threatened by an indefinite strike likely from February 25.

The strike, according to border trade sources, is being called by the CITU-affiliated Janapath Mazdoor Union, headed by Mr Shahidul Gazi.

Talking to Business Line here , Mr Samar Mohan Saha, President of Oriental Chamber of Commerce, expressed fears that if the district administration did not intervene immediately to diffuse the situation, exports to Bangladesh might go completely haywire.

He said some 2,000 trucks were already in the queue, and delayed consignments might cost exporters close to Rs 100 crore. He said the chamber, in a communication, had urged the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) to request the Union Government to intervene and save the exporters from incurring huge demurrage charges owing to trucks being stranded and held up at the Bongaigaon and CWC (Central Warehousing Corporation) parking lots.

When contacted in New Delhi, Mr T.K. Chatterjee, Addl Director-General, FIEO, said Mr D.K. Mittal, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, was already looking into the matter.

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