Koshi flood takes its toll on industries

Biratnagar, August 30 :

Flooding of the East-West Highway has affected industries along the Sunsari-Morang corridor.

Unable to supply products to Kathmandu and markets in the western region for 10 days, industries have cut down their production by 70 per cent.

The Biratnagar Custom Office (BCO) is bearing a loss of Rs 10 million daily as industries are not importing raw materials from India and other countries.

Before the flooding, the BCO used to collect Rs 1.6 crore as import tax every day. After the Saptakoshi disaster, the collection has gone down to Rs 55 lakh for a week. Businessmen based in the Sunsari-Morang corridor have not registered L/C for the import of raw material for a week.

Goods produced here used to be supplied to Kathmandu and districts in the western region.

“Most of the industries in the Sunsari-Morang corridor have reduced production by 70 per cent after the flooding brought vehicular movement to a halt along the East-West Highway,” Dinesh Golchha, chairman, Trade Organisation Morang, said. With the consent of Indian customs based in Jogbani, some businessmen are supplying goods to Kathmandu and western districts via Purnea, Barauni, Samstipur and Raxaul. The goods are routed to Birgunj customs and transported to different parts of the country. But the cost of transporting goods has doubled as vehicles have to travel a distance of around 180 kilometres to reach Birgunj from Jogbani.

“With the increase in transportation costs, market prices of goods is bound to increase by up to four rupees each kg,” Mahesh Jaju, chairman of the Morang Trade Association said. Around 80 goods carriers used to leave for the west daily before the flood fury.

Over 25 tonnes of goods are produced in industries based in the Sunsari-Morang corridor on a daily basis.