Staff Correspondent: Against the backdrop of violence and protests over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in India, travelling to the neighbouring country by land has seen a marked reduction. At Hili Immigration post, travel to India has fallen by half while travel via Benapole, Akhaura and Bhomra are still normal. But those who came back from India have spoken about their sufferings.
Around 700 to 800 persons used to go to India via the Hili border. Now, that number has fallen to 300 to 400.
Many Bangladeshis who go to India for medical reasons say that railway disruptions in India have added to the sufferings of many people.
Several passengers who had train tickets for travelling in India had to spend extra money and buy air tickets since tracks were uprooted in many areas.
However, the NRC debate did not have any adverse impact on cross border travel in Benapole. Immigration official at Benapole, Mohsin Khan, said: “The NRC row has not affected the travel through this border and there aren’t any infiltrations.”
The sentiment was echoed by BGB members.
The NRC has not impacted travel to India via Akhaura immigration port and immigration police in charge, Abdul Hamid, said: “The entry to India has risen in the last three months and since schools have closed, many are travelling to India.”
Ranak Barman from Habiganj who went to Bengaluru for treatment said: “Since road transport was suspended I was compelled to buy air tickets.”
Secretary of Clearing and Forwarding, C&F agent Association in Satkhira, Mostafizur Rahman Nasim, observed: “Due to suspension of buses and trains, tourism has seen a decline but we are not facing any problem in the transport and entry of goods.”
Immigration official at Bhomra, Biswajit Sardar, commented: “The movement of people across the border is normal and every day 1100 people on average are using the border for entry and exit.”
Meanwhile, customs official at Bhomra, Imdadul Huq, added: “Most people go to India for medical purposes, tourism and entertainment; due to NRC people are not going beyond Kolkata.”
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