Chhoti customs offices yet to be re-established

Biratnagar, January 17:

Even after the peace agreement between the Maoists and the government, nine Chhoti customs offices are yet to be re-established in Morang district.

The customs offices have not been re-established as the Maoists and Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha continued issuing threats, the Biratnagar-based main customs office said.

“Chhoti customs offices will probably be re-established after the formation of an interim government and re-establishment of all the police posts,” Biratnagar customs office chief Hari Sharan Pudasaini said, adding that the environment to restore the displaced customs offices is yet to be created in rural areas.

All nine Chhoti customs offices of Morang district were displaced and later merged with the main customs office in 2053 BS.

The Maoists had damaged the Madhumalla and Chunnibari-based customs offices in the conflict period.

“The government was collecting Rs 2 to 2.5 million revenue annually from the Chhoti customs offices. Some 30 workers of the Chhoti customs offices were deployed for revenue collection in respective areas,” said Tulsi Bhattarai, an official at the Biratnagar customs office. Staffers were finding it difficult to work due to insecurity.

The department has ordered the re-establishment of displaced customs offices after studying conditions. However, the situation is still not favourable for re-establishing the Chhoti customs offices, the Biratnagar customs office said.

CPN-Maoist Morang district in-charge Sagar said: “We will allow re-establishment of the displaced customs offices only after the Maoists join the government.”

Meanwhile, the Morang district police office (DPO) said all displaced police posts have been re-established. DPO sources claimed that the situation was favourable for the re-establishment of displaced customs offices in rural areas. DSP Rabindra Sharma at the Morang DPO claimed that the government offices could be established in the rural areas also.