Allow transport via Indo-Bangla border now: MHA to Bengal

Mamata Banerjee

New Delhi, May 6 : With the West Bengal government not adhering to the Centre’s guideline on goods transport through the India-Bangladesh border, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued strict direction to the state to implement it “without any delay”.

The state government was also asked to submit a compliance report immediately.

“You (West Bengal government) are directed to allow cross land border transportation through all Indo-Bangladesh borders without any delay and send the compliance report on opening of cross land borders, by today itself,” Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in the instruction circulated on Tuesday.

The instructions were issued following reports that goods traffic through the India-Bangladesh land border, falling in West Bengal, had not resumed. A large number of trucks, carrying essential supplies to Bangladesh, were stranded at different border crossing points.

A number of truckers had got also stranded in Bangladesh as they were not allowed to cross the border into India on return from there, the Ministry said.

Citing its April 24 letter, the Ministry said it was directed to allow transportation of essential goods through all India-Nepal, India-Bangladesh and India-Bhutan borders. The Ministry also asked the bordering states to send compliance report.

The Home Secretary, in the letter, said: “I am constrained to say we have not received the compliance report from West Bengal.”

Referring to the fresh guidelines on lockdown, issued by the Home Ministry on May 1, Bhalla said it had been clearly spelt out that no state or Union Territory should stop cargo movement across land border under treaties with neighbouring countries.

He also said the unilateral action on the West Bengal government’s part to stop the cross land border movement of essential goods would have larger implications for the Indian government with regard to its legally binding international commitments.

“This act of the West Bengal government amounts to violation of orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 as well as Article 253, 256 and 257 of the Constitution,” Bhalla’s letter read.

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