Two days after Bangladesh government relaxed port restrictions on import of nine new commodities from Tripura, the first export consignment of Arjun flowers, used to make broomsticks, was sent to Bangladesh through Agartala-Akhaura International Check Post (ICP) here on Thursday.
Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) officer and Agartala-Akhaura ICP manager Debashish Nandi said that the first consignment of 13.5 metric ton Arjun flowers was sent to Bangladesh on Thursday. The consignment was shipped from Pabiacherra in North Tripura district, 130 Km from Agartala and sent to Chittagong Trade Link, a Bangladesh-based trading concern.
“This is the first time a consignment of Arjun flowers was sent to Bangladesh through Agartala-Akhaura ICP. This consignment is worth USD 6000”, Nandi said.
Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh Md. Shakhawat Hussain joined the flagging off event of the first-ever broomstick flower consignment at the ICP on Thursday.
Earlier on September 25, Director of Industries and Commerce Sandeep Rathore issued a notification saying that nine new commodities were approved by the Peoples Democratic Republic of Bangladesh for border trade through Tripura.
These include raw latex, bamboo-based products, broomstick flowers, soyabean seeds, spare parts of motor-vehicles run by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and maize which can now be exported through Agartala-Akhaura ICP and rice, betel leaves, dry fishes which can be exported through Srimantapur Land Custom Station in Sipahijala district and Manughat Land Custom Station in South Tripura.
Director Sandeep Rathore was not available for his comments on Friday. Deputy Director of Industries and Commerce Swapan Mitra, who is in charge of foreign trade division, said that the decision to approve new exportable commodities is a welcome move.
Chairperson of Tripura Chamber of Commerce and Industries (TCCI) ML Debnath said export of new commodities from Tripura to Bangladesh is a very glad tiding. However, he expressed concern at the high customs duty charged on these commodities in Bangladesh and said the increased prices might affect the choice of a customer.
“Products like betel leaves were earlier exported through Srimantapur LCS and rice was exported through few others. More products are now going through the land customs stations in Tripura. It is good news. But we are also concerned because any commodity exported from Tripura will bear 35-45 per cent customs duty in Bangladesh. The increase in price will cause demands to come down”, Debnath said.
The trade and commerce chamber leader also said that Government of India charges Goods and Service Tax (GST) alone on products imported from Bangladesh. Apart from the relaxed tax system, products like Jamdani saree, dry fish, Hilsa fishes are entirely free of any type of tax including GST under a system which was introduced by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
21 commodities were exported to Bangladesh through eight land customs stations of Tripura before revised port restrictions on nine commodities were introduced this month.
Export-import trade with Bangladesh commenced in Tripura from 1995. However, trade volume in the Tripura-Bangla remains highly imbalanced. The state imported commodities worth Rs. 300 crores last year but exported goods of only Rs. 80 lakh.