border trade on strike
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
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. #