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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

With Bengal help, Centre plans return of Indians stuck in Bangladesh

The 2,680 Indians, of whom 2,399 are residents of Bengal, are mostly labourers stuck in the neighbouring country since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata, New Delhi | August 11, 2020 1:58:11 am
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. (File)

THE West Bengal government is working out modalities for the return of more than 2,600 Indian citizens stuck in Bangladesh through its borders, after the Centre sent a second letter requesting the same. However, the state wants the Centre to facilitate screening of those seeking to return.

The 2,680 Indians, of whom 2,399 are residents of Bengal, are mostly labourers stuck in the neighbouring country since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March. The Centre had asked Bengal a few weeks ago to let them enter through two of its six land border points with Bangladesh.

In a letter to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, the Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Vikram Doraiswami said, “Our Mission in Dhaka has once again reported that 2,399 people are seeking to return to West Bengal from Bangladesh through the Petrapole-Benapole integrated checkpost and further 281 citizens are seeking to do so through the Phulbari-Banglabandha land border.”

A senior West Bengal Secretariat official confirmed that they were working out the formalities, adding, “The Centre must ensure screening is carried out before they return…”

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