Customs offices in Tarai resume operations

Kathmandu, August 15

The operation of customs offices based in the Tarai region, which had been affected by the incessant rainfall and subsequent floods, has started to normalise from today. The customs offices located in the Tarai, which collect the major source of government revenue, had remained closed on Sunday and Monday.

According to Ramsharan Chimoriya, director general of Department of Customs (DoC), most of the offices resumed their services from today. “The operation of customs offices located in eastern Nepal has begun to normalise from today, and the major customs office located in Birgunj resumed its services from Monday,” he informed.

Along with the Birgunj customs, the dry port customs had also resumed its operation from Monday. After the customs offices were forced to remain closed due to the floods, revenue collection from those offices had been totally obstructed. The government has set an annual target to collect revenue of Rs 346 billion from the customs offices. According to DoC, customs offices need to collect Rs 800 million on an average every day if the given target is to be met.

Due to the floods and landslides at major customs points of the country, the government has lost around Rs 1.5 billion in revenue over the last two days. Besides customs offices in the Tarai region, Tatopani, Timure and Tribhuvan International Airport customs offices collect the customs revenue. There are 12 major customs offices in the country.

Customs offices in Mechi and Biratnagar have resumed their service from today.  The customs offices at Gaur, Sarlahi and Siraha, which suffered damages due to the floods, have also reopened today, but their services have remained affected.

“Since a number of roads have been blocked due to the landslides, we have been unable to resume our services in full swing,” Chimoriya said. “Some offices in the Tarai that were inundated will take a few days to resume services, while others are ready for operation.”

Customs offices located in the western region like Nepalgunj have resumed normal operations from today. “The western region was comparatively less affected than the eastern region, and if the monsoon recedes, all our services will normalise in a few days,” said Chimoriya.

According to him, roads in the Tarai region have been damaged due to the floods, which is affecting vehicular movement. “It may take a while longer for road transport to return to normal.”