Smuggling on rise in Bardiya

Bardiya, July 16:

Smuggling of cement and chemical fertilizer from across the border is rampant in Bardiya district.

Smugglers are bringing the goods in at a large scale as cement and chemical fertilizers illegally brought into the country give them a big margin.

Thousands of sacks of cement and low-grade fertilizers daily come into the country without payment of customs duty, said local consumers. Big businessmen in Gulariya, Maina-pokhari, Bhurigaun and Taratal bazaar are taking up this trade, sources said.

Bardiya chamber of commerce and industry has admitted of the wrongdoing. Its president Rajendra Kandel said cement was being brought into Nepal illegally, without the payment of customs duty.

“It has victimised businessmen registered with the VAT office. We get smuggled cement everywhere in the market,” he said. He also said that he is ready to cooperate with the concerned authorities in this regard. Most cement dealers are not registered with the VAT office and they issue ordinary bills without VAT registration number, said a cement dealer in Gulariya Ram Chand.

“Since smuggled cement has a cheaper price, it has victimised genuine businessmen,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Maoists’ affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) has claimed that it has laun-ched a campaign to check the smuggling of cement and chemical fertilizers. YCL’s Bardiya coordinator Binay Chaudhary said they have started patrolling to stop smuggling. “We hand over the seized cement and chemical fertilizers to customs office. We are out to check smuggling”, he said.

Most dealers in Nepalgunj deal in smuggled cement. A cement dealer at Dhambojhi of Nepalgunj says, “We bring trucks of cement from Bardiya. These give us a wide margin.”

According to the news reports, smuggling prospered after Chhoti customs offices located at check posts were shifted to the district headquarters. Admitting to this fact, Gulariya customs office said the time is still not safe for patrolling, leading to a boom in smuggling.