Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
The problem of parking space for trucks, both Bhutanese and Indian, ferrying boulders and minerals from Bhutan to Bangladesh via Changrabandha-Burimari border has been solved.
A designated parking space with a capacity to accommodate more than 600 trucks was opened yesterday at Changrabandha in India.
The seven-acre parking space is located just about a kilometre away from Burimari, Bangladesh and it provides added advantage to the drivers and exporters.
In a simple ceremony, officials from Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA), along with locals and transporters from Changrabandha, inaugurated the parking space yesterday.
Changrabandha is about 100km away from Phuentsholing.
The general secretary of BEA, Tshering Yeshi, said such space was not a requirement before.
“The trucks would return the same day,” he said. “But now the export trend has changed. It has tripled.”
He said it had become necessary for Bhutanese truckers to have a designated parking.
The general secretary explained that exporters and drivers faced numerous problems parking their trucks along the highway, which was against the traffic laws.
“Exporters were often penalised,” Tshering Yeshi said.
About 350 to 400 Bangladesh-bound trucks ferrying boulders and minerals reach Changrabandha daily from Phuentsholing, Samtse, and Gomtu.
The parking space was approved by the district magistrate of Cooch Behar.
“We recently visited the counterpart officials and all had agreed,” Tshering Yeshi said, adding the space was identified accordingly then. “It took about a month’s time to come to this point.”
Tshering Yeshi said that another eight acres of space would also be added subsequently, depending on the increase of vehicles.
People from Changrabandha and local transporters present at the inauguration yesterday also shared their views on the designated parking space. They said transporters and drivers from Bhutan would benefit from the parking lot. It would ease the traffic in their locality. They also said that such people-to-people cooperation in trade and transport would further boost the Bhutan-India ties.
Changrabandha border allows 500 trucks, 250 each from Bhutan and India to enter Burimari. Trucks are allowed to enter Bangladesh port from 8am to 6pm.
BEA is also negotiating to extend this timing from 8am to 10pm.