Kathmandu, September 25
Cargo containers, trucks and fuel tankers bound for Nepal have not been able to pass through the Indian border, as agitating activists of Tarai-based parties staged sit-in protests at the no man’s land on the Nepal-India border.
Not a single vehicle entered Nepal from Raxaul and Jogbani today, according to chief customs officers of the respective customs points in Nepal.
Mitra Lal Regmi, chief customs officer of the Birgunj Customs Office, a major customs point in the country, said trucks loaded with essential goods and petroleum products were not entering Nepal due to protests along the border. Krishna Basnet, chief customs officer of the Biratnagar Customs Office, also spoke on the same lines.
Even the remaining customs points of Nepal saw movement of very few vehicles from India, including Mechi, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj customs offices.
Dipendra Jha, information officer at the Mechi Customs Office, said only four fuel tankers and two trucks laden with fruits entered Nepal today from Panitanki Customs Office in India.In normal times, Birgunj and Biratnagar customs points receive at least 600 and 200 cargo vehicles, respectively.
There is a long queue of cargo containers, trucks and fuel tankers at the customs points on the Indian side, according to Lavanya Dhakal, chief customs officer at Bhairahawa Customs Office.
The customs clearance at the border points has slowed down after the statement of Ministry of External Affairs of India on September 21, which stated, “Our freight companies and transporters have also voiced complaints about the difficulties they are facing in movement within Nepal and their security concerns due to the prevailing unrest.”
Indian MEA today issued another statement on the situation of Nepal similar to the earlier statement and urged the Nepali government to resolve the issue at the earliest. Security of the Indian freight forwarders and transporters was raised in the statement. As a result, Nepal-bound goods are stranded at border points and Kolkata port since long.
Nepal government has claimed that it had been extending full security to the transporters who ferry goods to Nepal. Talking to THT, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, “The government is serious about the security of transporters and has provided security forces to escort the transporters.” Despite the protests in the Tarai, movement of Nepal-bound cargo from Indian border was easier before the promulgation of the constitution, according to Dhakal.
A version of this article appears in print on September 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.