Hand-in-glove in sugar smuggling

BIRGUNJ: A large amount of sugar is being smuggled into Nepal from India via checkpoints in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat districts in mid-Terai to avoid customs duty.

According to local traders, such smuggling becomes rampant ahead of Tihar festival. As per the provision, 15 per cent customs duty and 13 per cent value added tax should be paid on the import of sugar. Due to this, the price of sugar is cheaper in Indian markets than in Nepali ones and so, the border people visit the Indian markets to buy sugar.

"To compete with the Indian markets, it is necessary to smuggle sugar and evade tax", said a local trader, addingn that the open border also makes it easy.

It is said despite this the concerned bodies have not taken any step to control the rampant smuggling of sugar. This all is happening with their connivance only, a source said. According to the source, retailers give Rs 20 -25 per sack of sugar to the government employees and security personnel deployed at the check points while wholesellers pay them monthly for letting them smuggle in the contraband.

When asked, chief of Birgunj Revenue Investigation Bureau Satya Narayan Mandal said he was committed to take action against those involved in sugar smuggling. According to the source, nearly 12 to 15 trucks sugar is smuggled in daily via the checkpoints in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat districts.