Around 30,000 tons of oxygen is imported through the Benapole port every month
Emergency medical oxygen-carrying tankers have stopped entering the country through the Benapole port as India abruptly halts its oxygen export to Bangladesh without any prior notice.
No oxygen was imported in the last four days, traders said, adding that in seven days prior to Wednesday, Bangladesh had imported 498 tons of oxygen from India through the Benapole port.
However, it was expected that India would continue to export oxygen, albeit on a limited scale, owing to the long-standing friendship with Bangladesh, reports Bangla Tribune after speaking to traders concerned.
A large part of the demand for the country's medical oxygen is met by India. Around 30,000 tons of oxygen is imported every month through Benapole port alone.
“Exporters in India are under pressure from its government to temporarily stop oxygen exports in light of its own supply shortage,” said Rakib Hossain, a C&F agent at the Benapole port.
Medical oxygen, a crucial resource in treating critically ill coronavirus patients, has been in short supply with the second wave of the pandemic resulting in high demand across Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, India itself has been struggling with the second wave of coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen.
“However, despite the supply shortage in India, I hope the country will continue exporting its medical oxygen to Bangladesh owing to the long-standing friendship between the two nations,” said Motiar Rahman, director of the Bangladesh-India Chamber of Commerce.