Importers required to transport clinker immediately
Kathmandu, December 26
The meeting held between officials of the Ministry of Commerce, Department of Railways of Nepal and Indian Railways, in Raxaul, to sort out issues related to clinker import has ended with a conclusion to ferry clinker promptly without storing it on open ground, which is the practice as of now.
For this, importers have to ferry clinker and fly ash in trucks from beyond Raxaul as the Indian court has ruled in favour of locals of Raxaul citing that the rampant unloading of the dusty cargo is a health hazard to locals.
Transport cost of ferrying clinker will go up as importers have to bring clinker in trucks from beyond Raxaul. Earlier, they were ferrying clinker, fly ash and coal to Raxaul via train and rail transportation is relatively cheaper than road transportation.
Ravi Shanker Sainju, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, who led the Nepali team comprising officials from the Department of Railways of Nepal, said that clinker importers have to now opt for other border points like Bhairahawa to import clinker. Raxaul (Birgunj) is the main gateway to import clinker for cement plants in the eastern and central part of the country.
He further added that India has agreed to extend its railway line to Nepal in the near future, so Nepali importers can store clinker on Nepal side in the future. As a short-term remedy, the Indian side has suggested Nepali importers to make use of the Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) Birgunj. However, it is already congested and there is no space for dusty cargo like clinker.
Sainju further said that Nepal had requested the Indian side to expedite the Letters of Exchange related to bulk cargo movement that allows Nepali importers to ferry bulk cargo to the nearest rail-head of Nepal border namely, Nautanwa (Bhairahawa), Jogbani (Biratnagar) and Rupaidiha (Nepalgunj).
Citing the court’s verdict, locals have created obstruction to unload clinker and fly ash on the railway siding in Raxaul since last week. Earlier, Nepali importers used to store clinker on open ground and ferry it to Nepal as per their convenience through trucks.