Indian onion trucks waiting to enter Bangladesh turn back from Hili

23 Sep 2020 11:03 AM
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Indian traders have called back more than 100 onion trucks parked on their side of the border for nine days, as the country's government did not approve the export consignments to Bangladesh. 

No truck entered Bangladesh from India through Hili Land Port in Dinajpur till 4pm on Tuesday.

However, onions had started to rot in the hot weather after the trucks were stuck there for a few days and many were seen being thrown into a nearby river.

Initially, on September 14, India had barred onion export due to a shortage and sudden increase in prices in the domestic market.

On September 19, Indian traders exported 11 trucks of onions to Bangladesh but again stopped the next day.

Indian truck driver Sushil Kumar wondered why there were about 120 onion-carrying trucks parked in Hili and Balupara areas inside India after export was stopped.

He also said onions that had started to rot in several trucks were taken away and being sold to warehouses of exporters or at different places.

Khokon Sarkar, a clearing and forwarding (C&F) agent in Hili, India, said that as the Indian government stopped onion exports from September 14, several onion trucks got stuck at the border waiting to enter Bangladesh.

Later, 11 trucks of onions, which were tendered last Sunday, were exported to Bangladesh on September 19.

As no decision was taken regarding the other trucks, they remained stuck waiting for approval to cross the border, Khokon said.

Meanwhile, the onions started rotting which led the exporters to call the trucks back from the border and emptying them in their respective warehouses.

Khokon said: “What else can they do? They are facing a huge loss as the onions remain unsold.”

Harun-ur-Rashid Harun, president of the Hili Land Port Import-Export Group on this side of the border, said India exported 11 trucks of onions five days after the ban, more than half of which was rotten and spoiled. 

Although some onions could be sold, many onions had to be discarded. He said: “We have incurred a loss of over Tk50 lakh." 

During the time the other trucks were waiting at the border, the condition of the onions have gotten even worse, he said, adding that there is a risk that more than 75% of the onions will be damaged due to scorching heat and heavy rainfall.

This will result in a huge loss for Bangladeshi importers, said Harun.

“They [India] have not decided on the LCs Bangladesh placed for 10,000 tons of onions. However, we have been pressuring them to export onions against these LCs,” he added.