Over the course of the past two years, India's Haridaspur Land Check Post has seen the third highest percentage of Bangladeshi tourist arrivals.
In January this year, Bangladeshi tourists accounted for 28.03% and 17.47% at Delhi and Mumbai airports respectively, while Haridaspur alone clocked in 7.63%, reports the Business Standard.
The year 2017 saw an increase of an estimated 700,000 people crossing over through Haridaspur, in comparison to 1.3 million in 2016. Seven years ago, a mere 663,272 people were recorded.
According to immigration officials, the number is projected to increase to 4 million.
This increase is the result of close ties between India and Bangladesh, as visa processes have been simplified, according to the report.
It said medical tourism had been accounting for 70-80% thus far, where tourists have been opting for treatment from hospitals in Kolkata, who also offer ambulance services that are on standby when called upon.
“The building, the infrastructure might have been good enough to handle the traffic about 20-30 years ago, but now it is creaking under the pressure,” said one of the 60 immigration officials working at Haridaspur, which is also commonly known as Petrapole.
It is estimated that 600 to 700 day traders from Bangladesh commute to Kolkata daily and purchase a wide array of products including shampoos, sarees, foodstuff, crockeries.
Officials said the number of these traders were also on the rise.
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