Banglaband land port comes into operation

Govinda Chettri

Phulbari, May 25:

The Banglaband land port has come into operation on Monday with the export of 10 truckloads of food materials to Bangladesh and the import of one truckload of carbon rods into Nepal. The port has come into operation with only a godown and one office building for infrastructure. Yadav Raj Shiwakoti, chief of Nepal Transportation and Godown Management Company Ltd (NTGMC), said that assorted food materials exported to Bangladesh have been worth $43,530, while rods imported to Nepal are worth $5,500.

Businessmen said that it has been seven years since business between Bangladesh and Nepal started via Phulbari in India and Banglaband dry port. The main reason for the stoppage has been the lack of any facility at the port. The other hindrance has been the tortuous procedure that businessmen had to go through to export anything to Bangladesh. Firstly, they have to take executives from Nepal customs office and Indian customs office along with the material to be exported. After reaching Phulbari, they have to bring an executive from Bangladesh customs office and request Indian security personnel to open the gates.

After reaching Banglaband, another executive from Panchamgadh, which is 55-km away, have to come to examine the products and procedures. Then only the whole procedure of export finishes. Apart from all these, there is no facility to unload trucks at Banglaband and businessmen have to exchange the materials from the trucks coming in and out of the country. There are no porters to load and unload.

Shiwakoti said that another reason for slack business relations between Nepal and Bangladesh is due to Bhutan. He said that majority of the products exported to Bangl-adesh from Nepal and Bhutan are agricultural products. While Bangladesh provides discount to Bhutan on export tax, Nepal does not get such a facility. Bhutan has to pay only 28 per cent tax while Nepal has to pay 50 per cent. Bangladesh has even provided a fully-equipped port at Chyangrabandh for export facilitation.

He also accused India of discriminating against Nepal in comparison to Bhutan by giving it a better road connection to Banglaband. Despite all such odds, Nepali businessmen have exported materials worth Rs 303.23 million in the past seven years. According to NTGMC, export during fiscal year 2054-55 was worth Rs 1.157 million, Rs 42.352 million during 2055-56, Rs 94.323 million during 2056-57, Rs 23.616 million during 2057-58, Rs 81.717 million during 2058-59, Rs 11.796 million during 2059-60 and Rs 48.356 million by the end of Baisakh during this fiscal year. Total imports during the fiscal year 2054-55 had been worth Rs 13.126 million, Rs 48.088 million during 2055-56 and Rs 95.433 million by the end of Baisakh during this fiscal year.