Smuggling of goods on the rise in Rautahat

Rautahat, October 15

Smuggling of various goods and commodities from across the border has been on the rise in Rautahat of late.

According to Ajaya Jha, a local, a huge amount of daily goods and household commodities are being smuggled from across the border every day. “Hundreds of people bring various commodities like rice, pulses, clothes and cooking oil from across the border without paying any taxes,” said Jha.

“Other commodities, including toothpaste, tobacco products, nuts and cardamoms are also smuggled through the Indian border by avoiding taxes,” Jha added. He said the concerned authorities, meanwhile, were doing nothing to check smuggling of goods from across the border.

Though imports have gone up of late, entry points, including Banjaraha, Mathiya, Auraiya, Rampurkhap, Bankul, Mahadevpatti, Laxmipur Belbichhawa, Brahmapuri and Gaur, of the district haven’t seen any significant rise in revenue collection.

“There has been no rise in revenue collection as traders are getting their consignments passed from across the border by bribing security personnel,” claimed Jha. “Most surprisingly, customs authorities and others responsible for checking smuggling have turned a blind eye to this,” he added.

Rautahat shares a stretch of 26 kilometres with India and sources claimed that smugglers usually operated in an organised way to get away with the illegal goods by bribing the local police.

“On the one hand, the country is losing its revenue, while on the other hand, traders like us, who bring in goods and commodities by paying taxes, have been hit hard,” said a local trader.

Ramesh Singh, another local of Gaur, lashed out at Nepal Police, Armed Police Force personnel deployed at the border and customs staffers for encouraging smuggling. “Security personnel deployed at the border are involved in smuggling. They let the big traders and smugglers who grease their palms free, but give unnecessary hassles to commoners who bring goods solely for their personal use,” he said.

On his part, Gaur Customs Chief Rameshwor Mishra dismissed the charges against his office and staffers. “We collect revenue from those who come to us seeking to pay the customs, but some of them don’t come to us and manage to slip away,” said Mishra. He, however, conceded that the revenue collection would go up if the security personnel carried out their duty with full sincerity.