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Monday, November 12, 2012

Suspension of Export Withdrawn after Police Action Ensured at Mahadipur Border

Malda, November 11, 2012: Though no accused was arrested after two lorry drivers and a helper was roughed up by some extortionists near Indo- Bangla border at Mahadipur, the exporters withdrew suspension of export today after getting ‘satisfactory assurance’ from the district police administrations.

State secretary of West Bengal Exporters’ Co-ordination Committee (WBECC) Ujjwal Saha said, “We have resumed exporting goods to Bangladesh only for the time being. After we stalled export indefinitely yesterday, the superintendent of police (SP), Malda held a meeting with us and assured us to curb miscreants’ activities at border areas.”

“We are satisfied that since yesterday afternoon police raided the area several times and kept patrolling even today. We have submitted a list of 24 miscreants to police and demanded their immediate arrest. Though none of them has yet been arrested, the gesture of police was assuring and that’s why export was resumed,” Saha added.

He informed that more than 120 lorries were waiting at Mahadipur border with onions, fruits and other vegetables. “It would take time to normalize the situation,” Saha added informing that there was a hefty loss of more than Rs 5 crore of foreign money as many importers in Bangladesh refused to buy vegetables which rotted yesterday.

“It’s the loss we had to bear because we were at the fag end of our patience. Criminal activities were alarmingly on rise and we had to halt export demanding our security. Thankfully police, after a prolonged period of inaction, played the proper role since last evening,” Saha said.

This may be mentioned that a lorry driver Harneek Singh, an inhabitant of Gurudaspur, Punjab was taking lorry load of fruits to Bangladesh in his lorry (H R -55/L-1166). He was caught by the miscreants at Mahadipur who demanded money from him. Singh refused and the miscreants tried to snatch the goods from the lorry. Resisting them both Singh and his helper Raju Lal were roughed up. Another driver Sushil Roy who was taking maize to Bangladesh came to help singh. He also was roughed up. They were even wounded with knife before they were rescued by other drivers at the export centre.

Both Singh and Raju were admitted to hospital. Later, infuriated drivers stopped driving lorries demanding their security. As many as 600 trucks were stalled in the border. Exporters too joined their causes.

SP, Malda Jayanta Pal said, “Police have taken prompt action to prevent harassment of lorry drivers at the border areas. Police patrolling is on. All 24 accused have scampered away but we would nab them soon and take prompt action.”

“352 extortionists have already been in our net during last two days’ across Malda. We initiated cases in case of an extortion at Bhaluka,” Pal added. He informed that situation was now normal at Mahadipur area.

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