About 102 Bhutanese trucks with their drivers stranded in Banglabandha, Bangladesh since August 31 re-entered the Indian border, Fulbari yesterday evening.
Bhutanese trucks carrying stones and boulders to Bangladesh use the India-Bangladesh border, Fulbari-Banglabandha. The trucks drop the materials and return empty. However, the trucks and the drivers were held at Banglabandha on August 31 due to problems related to labourers, according to Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) officials.
BEA general secretary, Tshering Yeshi, said the labourers’ group had demanded Bangladeshi Taka (BDT) 300 per each truck entering Banglabandha and stopped the movement of trucks.
“They said they would not leave the trucks and drivers until the demand was fulfilled,” he said, adding that the issue had triggered only after trucks had entered Banglabandha.
Tshering Yeshi said that the drivers were kept at a custom-bounded house and did not have proper facilities such as latrines and food. Drivers also did not have enough money for food, he said. “All have returned safely now.”
The general secretary also explained that there was no requirement of labourers for unloading, as most of the trucks are equipped with automatic-unload systems.
Meanwhile, with the problem still not solved, there are bout 1,000 trucks at Fulbari, on the Indian side of the border, waiting to drop the boulders at Banglabandha.
“Our trucks are just lying idle for eight days now,” Tshering Yeshi said.
With boulders and stones export from India to Bangladesh decreased during monsoon, the general secretary said Bhutanese exporters had advantage. But this opportunity is missed, he added.
BEA office has sought help from the Bhutanese Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh and the local authority of Panchagraha.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing