“There is some commotion in Petrapole. There are some issues and we will address them”, West Bengal’s home secretary, Alapan Bandyopadhyay said.
Since the start of the lockdown
in March, the Petrapole checkpost in the Bongaon area of North 24 Parganas district, 83 km from Kolkata; had reopened on April 30. However, protests erupted in the area on the presumption that Bangladeshi labourers were carrying the virus which would affect Indian drivers and helpers and operations closed down on the same day.
In the letter, Bhalla said that closing this border would have larger international repercussions for India regarding its “legally binding international commitments”.
Appealing to open the border for trade immediately, Bhalla has asked West Bengal to send a compliance report.
In an earlier communication last month, Bhalla said that West Bengal had closed its international borders with Nepal as well as Bhutan unilaterally, affecting India’s international interests.
While movement of goods to Nepal and Bhutan as eased, the same has not been the case with Bangladesh.
India has friendly relations with these three countries.
It is estimated that over 2100 trucks, carrying essential supplies towards Bangladesh
are held up at the Petrapole border in West Bengal since March and drivers returning to India from Bangladesh are also denied entry by the West Bengal government.
The state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee
has previously elucidated on the strategic position of West Bengal and stated that borders needed to be closed to contain Covid-19 spread in the state.
Opposition attacks, TMC retaliates
After facing attacks from opposition parties, the governor, the Centre and others, in its aptness of controlling Covid-19 and the lockdown, Trinamool Congress has started its political retaliation with party leaders like Derek O’Brien, Partha Chatterjee, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Chandrima Bhattacharya and others attacking the state’s governor, the Centre and the BJP.
O’Brien, on Wednesday alleged that the PM Cares fund, where large corporate houses have donated generously, is a BJP fund in effect and funds are not being given to states by the Centre.
Party leaders attacked the BJP of spreading fake news
to destabilise West Bengal and mislead people as well as refered to BJP ruled states like Gujarat which witnessed several lockdown
The moves after party strategist Prashant Kishore travelled to West Bengal during the lockdown
and opposition parties daily pulled up the state government for its failure to handle the Covid-19 situation as well as the lockdown.