Supply of goods yet to ease at border points

Jhapa/Bhairahawa, October 4

After the Ministry of External Affairs, India issued a directive to smoothen import and export at Nepal-India border points to its line agencies; the entry of vehicles laden with different goods and commodities into Nepal through different border points has eased slightly.

Import and export were adversely affected after Indian customs offices tightened checking citing unfavourable situation due to the highway-centered agitation and sit-ins at the major border points by United Democratic Madheshi Front.

As many as 145 heavy trucks loaded with various goods entered via the Kakadbhitta customs point. According to Mechi Customs Office, 127 heavy trucks till Saturday night and 28 heavy vehicles loaded with goods entered via the border point today. The customs office said that LP gas bullets stranded at India’s Panitanki area entered Nepal till late night.

Similarly, officials from both Nepali and Indian sides at Jogbani border point reached a five-point agreement to resume the supply of goods and petroleum products. The meeting held under the leadership of Rani Customs Office Chief Krishna Basnet and Indian Customs Chief Pranesh Gupta agreed to ease customs checking and other processes at the border point.

The agreement includes prioritising supply of medicine, fuel, gas and foodstuffs to Nepal. They have also agreed to allow a help desk of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry for escorting heavy trucks to their respective destinations in Nepal.

Both sides agreed to make import and export smooth from Sunday itself. As per the accord, as many as 125 tankers and some gas bullets are being brought to Nepal today itself, Rani Customs Chief Basnet said. He added that there would be no disruption at the border point.

Likewise, as many as 10 petrol tankers entered Nepal via Nepalgunj-Rupaidiha border point till late night yesterday. Eight heavy trucks entered the country till today evening. As many as 150 trucks and tankers have been stuck at the Indian side.

Police today arrested three agitatorsm including Madheshi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic district Chairman Hiralal Loniya when they were trying to obstruct the Nepalgunj-Rupaidiya border point.

Vehicles could not enter the country via Bhairahawa-Sunauli border point due to the demonstration launched by United Democratic Madhesi Front. Bhairahawa Customs Office said that the demonstration had halted the entry of vehicles. The situation became tense after local traders retaliated against UDMF cadres. Both sides pelted stones at each other. Before the tension erupted, 25 trucks had entered the country.

However, not a single tanker carrying petroleum products entered via the Bhirahawa border point though 20 pickup vans entered the country today evening. Meanwhile, the major trade point Birgunj remained obstructed today too.

More than one lakh metric tonnes of food items and industrial raw materials have been stranded at dry port in Birgunj. Birgunj Customs Office Chief Deviram Bhandari said the demonstration and sit-ins had stranded the enormous volume of goods and products on Indiaside.