Onions start rolling in at land ports

Onion-laden trucks yesterday started entering Bangladesh from India through different land ports after the Indian government lifted a temporary ban on onion export on Friday evening.

At least 25 Indian onion-laden trucks entered Bangladesh through Sonamasjid, Bhomra and Hili land ports as of yesterday afternoon.

Some 300 onion-laden trucks, which were ready to enter Bangladesh through Bhomra port of Satkhira, left stranded at Ghojadanga land port of Indian side for five days after the Indian government's sudden ban came on Monday.

A total of 14 Indian onion-laden trucks entered through Bhomra border around 1:00pm, sources at the port told our Satkhira correspondent.

Mohsin Hossain, superintendent at Bhomra land port, said onion import from India started yesterday after a five-day halt.

An Indian C&F agent told our Satkhira correspondent by phone that they received an official letter in this regard from the Indian customs authorities on Friday.

Bhomra customs sources said importers there faced difficulties after some 300 onion-laden trucks got stuck at Ghojadanga since the ban announcement was made by India without any prior notice.

Mostafizur Rahman, general secretary of Bhomra C&F Association, said they found about 40 to 50 percent of the imported onions in the 14 trucks to be rotten.

He said the 300 Indian trucks were supposed to carry about 25 tonnes onion each.

Romesh Padual, an Indian truck driver, said he was waiting with his onion-laden truck at Ghojadanga since September 13.

Half the onion of his truck got perished during this period, he said.

Meanwhile, onion-laden trucks standard at the Indian Mohodipur land port started entering Bangladesh through Sonamasjid land port in Chapainawabganj since yesterday morning.

A total of eight trucks carrying onions entered Bangladesh through Sonamasjid land port from 11:00am to 2:00pm, said Toufiqur Rahman, general secretary of the import-export association of the land port.

He expressed hope that more trucks carrying onions would enter Bangladesh, reports our Chapainawabganj correspondent.o

In Dinajpur, three Indian trucks carrying onion entered Bangladesh through the Hili Land port in Hakimpur upazila, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.

Onion-laden trucks started coming in Bangladesh from around 3:00pm, said Harun Ur Rashid, president of Hili importer and exporter association.

Harun said importers opened Letters of Credit (LCs) for importing 10,000 metric tonnes of onion through Hili land port.

This was not the first instance of India banning onion exports without any prior notice, causing onion prices in Bangladesh to go through the roof.

In late September last year, a similar ban was imposed by India, which had a rapid ripple effect. Onion prices in Bangladesh soared close to Tk 300 per kg from Tk 40.

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