Narinjara News

Bangladesh  Burma border trade on strike

Teknaf, 1
st September 03:  The importers, Clearing and Forwarding agents, and the Transport Owners and Workers Federation involved in the border trade with Burma have jointly gone into strike.  The Government of Bangladesh will also lose daily revenue of taka one million (equivalent to 17,500 US dollars) collected from the Bangladesh  Burma border trade, according to a source in the federation.  

One of the ten-point demands is removal of unnecessary harassment of the trucks carrying legally imported merchandise from Burma by the Bangladesh Rifles border security guards, the federation source said.  It is alleged that those who are engaged in the border trade have been subjected to a number of coercions for extortions by the border guards.  The strikers submitted their 10-point demand two weeks earlier and the ultimatum ended on 31st August, yesterday.  As the relevant authority did not take the matter seriously and has not responded to the demands it became inevitable for those associated with the border trade to go on strike till the demands are addressed to.

The strikers arranged a rally in the southeastern Bangladeshi border town of Teknaf in support of the strike on Sunday evening.  The traders called for the cooperation of the local people to make the strike a success. 

Meanwhile, there is a rising concern among the local traders engaged in border trade that the ruling party government is planning to take away the border trade from the local merchants and set up a direct Dhaka to Rangoon trade through a new border point under construction, about twenty-five kilometres north of Teknaf. 

In recent days the exchange rate between the Bangladeshi taka and Burmese kyat has been fluctuating at an unpredictable rate.  The exchange rate of the US dollar now stands at kyat 1,000 at the border while it is 1,040 in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.  Earlier the Burmese junta has declared not to use the US dollar as the legal tender, opting for the euro.  While the dollar is still used unofficially in a number of transactions, said a trader engaged in the border trade.  #