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India allows Bangladesh to import motorcycles through land route

NEW DELHI: India has allowed Bangladesh to importmotorcycles through the land customs stations, a move that is expected to give a big leg-up to exports of country's two-wheel makers.

"Bangladesh had requested India and it has been permitted after inter-ministerial consultations," said a finance ministryofficial.

A decision to this effect was taken at the India-Bangladesh joint group of customs in Dhaka led by revenue secretary Sumit Bose and Ghulam Hussain, chairman of National Board of Revenue of Bangladesh, last week in Dhaka, the official said.

Motorcycle trade was allowed through the sea route but that pushed up costs in the local market in Bangladesh. This was one of the key demands of Bangladesh that has been met by India and motorcycles can now be shipped from Petropole and Agartala land customs stations.

Both sides have been scaling up land customs infrastructure to boost bilateral trade.

Bangladesh has also agreed to review the restrictions on goods that can be imported or exported through each land customs station as part of reciprocity.

New Delhi is developing integrated check posts, state-of-art infrastructure and all regulatory agencies under one roof at Agartala, Petropole and Dawki to be inaugurated in November 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Both sides have also agreed to open Petrapole land customs station on all seven days from next calendar year to help speedy clearance of cargo.

There are 53 land customs stations between Bangladesh and India. Both sides have identified 16 out of them as of 'high bi-lateral importance' to upgrade infrastructure. The meeting also agreed to allow cross border entry of trucks up to the land custom station for discharge of cargo and return. "This measure is expected to reduce time and costs for business community since, in its absence, the truck of the exporting country has to off-load the cargo onto the truck of the importing country at zero line (in the open), which is neither secure nor safe," the official said.

Both sides will also synchronise working hours and days at these land customs stations and New Delhi has decided to observe Friday as the weekly holiday as part of goodwill gesture.