Kathmandu, November 23:

A total of 190 loaders, hired by Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA) at TIA Cargo Complex, have expressed ire that they might lose their jobs, if the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) adopted controlling mechanisms in issuing new identify cards for loaders to enter the Airport Cargo Complex (ACC). They are in the job for the past 30 years.

The proposed new rule by the CAAN came as a shock to the freight forwarders and loaders as there is already an Identity Card System (ICS). They, while talking to The Himalayan Times, said, “in the name of security, CAAN is again introducing ICS to lay off about 50 per cent loaders and place their own man.

Bharat Dhakal, security chief at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), while talking to The Himalayan Times said that the government is ‘just’ adopting controlling mechanism by issuing identity cards for certain needy people only to enter ACC for specific purposes. He hoped, it would ultimately discourage unwanted people to enter the ACC. He denied the loaders’ claim that the government is considering to sack some loaders hired by NEFFA.

President of NEFFA, Namgyal Lama expressed his determination that if one loader is fired from the ACC, a total of 125 freight forwarders will go on all-out strike protesting such unjustifiable decision. Loaders have become a major force to handle cargos at TIA Cargo Complex for facilitating export, he said.

Loaders are said that it is an issue of their ‘bread and butter’. Janak Bhatta, president of Loader Association of Nepal (LAN) said that since “we are surviving with the financial support of NEFFA, we will follow it and do accordingly for our job security.”

The issue of gate pass/ICS for loaders has troubled us as there are friends who have been working for the past 30 years as loader, he said. “Even today, loaders are working as per the government’s instructions and move in the permitted areas only.” In such a situation, we don’t think that another identify cards are needed. “It violates the previous agreement with NEFFA,” he said, adding that they might go on strike if loaders are forced to leave their job. “It is not the concern of the government as they do not pay even a single penny to loaders working in the premises of ACC,” he said.

Lama said, “decreasing labour at ACC will affect cargo handling and export–oriented business.”

“Violating the recent agreement, CAAN again is talking nonsense to reformat the ID cards’ in the name of security,” Lama said, “CAAN was informed many times not to compromise with loaders in the name of security purpose. However, they seemed adamant on it.”

“Over Rs 200 entry fee is being charged by contractors at ACC for freight forwarders’ vehicles which is out and out smuggling,” he blamed.

About 40 metric tonnes of cargo is cleared in a day from ACC.