“What do you need?” asked Indian truck driver Sonaton. “It is possible to bring anything from India, even without legal documents. You just need to know some techniques.”
The stout middle-aged driver said he brought everything his Bangladeshi customers wanted. A Dhaka Tribune correspondent approached him posing a trader.
“I charge Tk50,000 for a single trip and will bring anything you want to your preferred Bangladeshi port from any Indian state,” he said.
Sonatan explained that if someone wanted to bring goods from India, they first needed to contact brokers who manage shipments of the illegal products. Without brokers, it is not possible to procure good quality products at low prices, he added.
He said the brokers manage border guards. “If you can contact influential brokers on the other side, then the Indian authorities including the BSF will never touch our trucks. You need to manage authorities on this side and contact porters who will unload products from our trucks and load them on Bangladeshi trucks inside the customs house.”
About smuggling contraband products, Sonaton said: “We usually hide them in rice sacks. We have seen some port brokers on your side unload our trucks and complete paper works swiftly.”
Sometimes they bribe customs porters and manage local Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) officials and the work goes without a hitch, he said.
A senior BGB official posted in Dinajpur zone rejected claims about lax security. “It is impossible. We check each and every truck,” the official, declining to be named, said.
Asked if some Indian trucks go unchecked, BGB-12 battalion Commanding Officer Lt Col Nazrul Islam who supervises Akhaura land port, replied in the negative.
“But we cannot say for sure that all our officials are honest,” he quickly added.
The recently reconstituted central anti-smuggling task force is working to prevent entry of illegal goods into Bangladesh. Regarding the drug issue, Customs Intelligence DG Moinul Khan said they had spoken with Indian Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.