India curfew halts cargo flow through Petrapole

MNA Business Desk: Cargo handling at the Petrapole port on the India-Bangladesh border came to a halt on Sunday after India launched a 14-hour curfew to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors, a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.

“There’s a ‘people’s curfew’ going on across India from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, forcing C&F companies and agents, handling workers and transporters to stay home. Cargo flow between the two ports is suspended,” said Kartik Chakrabarty, general secretary of Petrapole C&F Agent Staff Association.

Port activity will resume on Monday, he said, reported.

On the other hand, cargo handling at the Benapole port is ongoing and trucks coming from India can offload goods, said Nashidul Haque, superintendent of Benapole Checkpost Cargo Division.

Hundreds of trucks carrying goods will remain stuck on both sides of the border as the business is stalled for a day, he said.

Passengers are crossing the international checkpost regularly despite the curfew on the Indian side, said Ahsan Habib, OC of immigration at the Benapole International Checkpost.

Health experts said India’s cases have been growing at a rate seen during the early stages of the outbreak in other countries, which subsequently reported exponential increases in infections.


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