Mahendranagar, November 15:

After the displacement of over a dozen Chooti custom offices from Mahakali zone, the incidents of smuggling have gone up in the last few years. These custom offices were relocated for security reasons some five years ago.

Government workers remain absent by and large from the custom custom offices of the western region, expect in Gaddachouki-based custom office in Kanchanpur, Mahakali custom office in Jhulatar, and Baitadi Chhoti custom office in Darchula for the past few years. The government has been losing a huge chunk of revenue due to the displacement of these custom offices.

The rate of smuggling has gone up through the porous Indian borders in Mahakali zone due to the dearth of government workers. The Maoists are also believed to be importing explosive device and food stuff through the deserted custom offices, the locals said.

“Through these custom offices, Chinese and other foreign goods are freely exported, while colour televisions and some other goods are imported into Nepal,” a local said on the condition of anonymity.

Tiket and Sitapur Chhoti custom offices of Darchula district have been unable to collect revenue for the past five years. There are many governmental offices in Tinker, but officials are absent here as well. The Maoists have collected more than Rs 30 million from Tinkar this year, locals said.

The District Administration Office (DAO), Kanchanpur, too accepts that smuggling of goods through these custom offices has increased. “We are demanding the establishment of security base camps at the border areas to check smuggling. The concerned authority has given positive signal in this regard,” Shankar Prasad Pande, Chief District Officer (CDO), said.

The local administration has also asked for the establishment of a security base camp

at Tinkar of Darchula. Though the zonal security committee has given the nod for the establishment of a base camp at Tinkar, the decision is yet to be implemented.

The incidents of smuggling won’t go down unless the security forces are mobilised, DAO, Darchula, said. “The Chhoti custom offices cannot be re-established in these areas if the security situation does not improve,” a security official, said.

Dipayal-based far western division headquarters of RNA has accepted that incidents of smuggling have increased through the custom offices in Mahakali zone in the last few months.