Benapole is the biggest land port of the country where there are check post, customs and immigration points for coming and going to neighboring India. A huge number of people use this point every day. But this important border point is yet to get any modern facilities to ease the discomforts of the users.
The passengers allege that paying the required fees they are not getting the desired services. They are rather disappointed at the arrangements of this biggest land port.
It is learnt that Benapole is the biggest international land port of the country. So most traders, treatment seekers, tourists and also in diplomatic purpose this port is used most. According to the government accounts about 5 to 8 thousand passport holders come and go to India every day. The government gets Taka 500 per head as travel fees. So the government earns Taka 100 crore every year from this head.
Besides, each passenger is to give more Taka 45 as tax for the ticket counter at the bus terminal, canteen, rest room, wheel chair, toilet and pure dinking water purposes. But during last three years the port could not provide any services except toilet facilities. The government earns about Taka 7 crore from this sector.
During last few days while closely looking at the port areas it was found that in most of the time there is a long queue of passengers. If 500 passengers are seen standing there is no sitting arrangements. There is arrangement for 100 men sitting arrangement causing sufferings in sun heat and rain. Though there is a sign board for bus terminal but none is seen to sale tickets. The scanning machine to check smuggling is found disturbed most of the time.
It is learnt that some unscrupulous people in the disguise of passengers bring goods evading customs duty. Due to shortage of manpower the passengers are to make delay in queues. The sick and the challenged people are suffering without getting trolley or wheel chair.
One passenger Sham Das coming from India told Barta24.com that there is a signboard ‘use wheel chair but I got neither trolley nor wheel chair anywhere. I can not use stairs with this sick body. This arrangement has made me very disappointed.’
One Anowar Hossain told Barta24.com that while coming from India I made some purchases for my kids. But I had to pay bribe for this at several points. Though the customs men scanned by bag but it was again checked at the port and at Amrakhali by BGB men. This is a big hassle and suffering for the passengers.
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) officer Asaduzzaman Litu told Barta24.com, I was returning home after taking treatment in India. I had nothing mentionable with me. But the customs official demanded bribe from me. However I escaped later giving my identity.
Benapole Land Port Director (Traffic) Prodosh Kanti Das told Barta24.com that ‘the development work of the Benapole passenger terminal has started. At the moment we cannot make sitting arrangement due to space crisis. The transport counter also cannot sit for the same reason. The land acquisition is going on by the side of terminal where services will be ensured’.
The revenue officer of Benapole customs told Barta24.com, ‘the service at the check post is much better now for the passengers. The security against the agents has been increased. We have arranged one hundred trolleys for the easy travel of the passengers. But due to some problems the trolley service cannot be introduced now. However it will resume soon.’
Benapole Immigration officer in charge (OC, Investigation) Masud told Barta24.com that, ‘we have enough manpower but due to space crisis in Immigration building it becomes problems when there is pressure of passengers.’