Flow of vehicles from India rises

Kathmandu, December 19

The flow of vehicles laden with daily essentials, fuel and industrial raw materials from India to Nepal has started to increase since the last three weeks. A similar number of vehicles like in the normal times has started entering Nepal from Biratnagar, Kakarvitta and Nepalgunj customs, according to the chiefs of the concerned customs offices.

Over 200 vehicles including 10 diesel tankers, two petrol tankers and one cooking gas bullet entered Nepal through Biratnagar today. Biratnagar Customs Office used to receive 250 vehicles every day during normal times, informed Krishna Basnet, customs chief at Biratnagar.

Similarly, 107 vehicles including four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets entered Nepal through the Nepalgunj Customs Office.

“Nepalgunj customs used to receive about 70 vehicles in normal times. The flow of vehicles from this route has increased along with disturbances at other customs points and also due to re-routing of vehicles from other border points where there have been disturbances,” said Rajendra Hamal, chief customs officer at Nepalgunj Customs Office.

Supply from Dhangadhi and Bhairahawa is still erratic.

Keshab Oli, information officer at Bhairahawa Customs Office said that around 70 to 200 vehicles have been entering Nepal through Bhairahawa every day. A total of 188 vehicles, including 12 diesel tankers and one petrol tanker, entered Nepal till today evening.

Sonauli Customs in India had informed that it will be dispatching more vehicles to Bhairahawa as the queue of vehicles has exceeded 15 km from the border. However, it has not done so.

“The customs chiefs of both sides have been interacting since a few days to clear more trucks and containers stranded since long,” said Oli.

Dhangadhi Customs Office today received 37 vehicles, including 18 diesel tankers, one petrol tanker and one aviation turbine fuel tanker, informed Hari Pandey, customs chief of Dhangadhi Customs Office.

Similarly, Kakarvitta Customs Office cleared 100 containers today that included 17 containers laden with goods imported from third countries.

Bhim Adhikari, customs chief of Mechi Customs Office, said that fuel tankers and LPG bullets are regularly entering via this route since the last three weeks. Fuel is only dispatched from Monday through Friday because Siliguri Depot of IOC does not load tankers on Saturday and Sunday.

Supply situation in the country is still bad because Birgunj, which is the major trading route with India and third countries, has been closed since three months. Birgunj is the lifeline for the supply of fuel because Raxaul Depot of India Oil Corporation (IOC), with which the country is entirely reliant for fuel, caters to 60 per cent of the petroleum demand.

According to the Department of Customs (DoC), besides Birgunj and Krishnanagar of Kapilvastu, the movement of vehicles laden with Nepal-bound cargo has started to rise and revenue collection from the customs point has risen to Rs 400 million each day, which is still low as against about Rs 600 million in normal times.

DoC has said that it has missed its revenue collection target by about Rs 30 billion in the first five months of this fiscal due to the Tarai unrest that has adversely affected the import of goods.