First dry port of North Bengal becomes operational

Darjeeling: The first dry port of North Bengal is finally operational. This dry port is all set to emerge as a major boost to trade in this region as well as landlocked north east.

Located at Fulbari, 9 units are already operational. 6 more units are scheduled to become operational within a week.

"An officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of the Customs Department is already posted at the dry port. Earlier exporters would have to go to Kolkata along with their containers and after checks by the Customs, the containers would be sealed. The same system was in place for imports. The containers after arriving at Calcutta port used to be checked in Calcutta and then brought to North Bengal in trucks. Now the checking and sealing of containers can be done at the dry port at Fulbari for both imports and exports, thereby reducing transportation cost by 60 per cent. This will be a major boost to trade in this region and North East," stated Alam Khan, manager of the company looking after operations of the dry port on behalf of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA.)

Incidentally in 2012 the Railways had leased 90 acres of land to SJDA at Fulbari for 30 years, on the outskirts of Siliguri for the dry port. However problems cropped up with subleasing of the land. Traders were not getting sub lease documents. Later with the intervention of the State Government, Rajiva Sinha, the then Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal had taken up the matter with Delhi and the Railways.

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