Overloaded tippers impounded by police. Photo: Ajit Tiwari/Republica
BIRATNAGAR, Feb 7: Transport entrepreneurs of Morang have taken four overloaded tippers under control for passing through the dilapidated Mirgunj bridge at Bathnaha of India, next to Nepal border, which is considered a lifeline for Nepali importers.
Running overloaded carriers through the bridge risks its collapsing, which will affect Nepali imports via India.
The tippers were found carrying 60 tons of clinker each. The weight limit for vehicles passing through the bridge is 20 tons.
Nepali importers and exporters have said that overloaded tippers have been entering Nepal via the damaged bridge, bribing Indian authorities.
The Mirgunj bridge, used for importing goods from India and other countries via Biratnagar, was devastated by recent floods. India had initially banned running vehicles over it, but later gave permission to carry loads up to 20 tons, upon request from Nepali importers and exporters.
The overweight vehicles passed through the bridge to avoid re-routing via 120-kilometer-long Bhimnagar Bhantabari route, which would cost them about Rs 50,000 per carrier. They can pass the bridge by bribing up to Rs 2000, according to a customs agent.
“We received information that the 18-wheeler tippers were bribing Indian authorities to pass through the bridge with more than 20 tons of clinker,” Nepali transport entrepreneur Meghraj Sigdel said. “The four tippers had arrived here via the Mirgunj bridge.”
The four tippers are currently under control of Nimuwa Police Office, Morang. Tipper drivers have already confessed that they brought tippers via Jogbani, next to Biratnagar. However, they claimed that they brought only 20 tons of clinkers up to Jogbani and from there they loaded extra clinkers.
Those tippers were carrying clinkers, raw material for cement, imported by Eastern Cosmos Cement Pvt Ltd located at Nemuwa, Morang.
Superintendent Rajkumar Lamsal, chief of regional traffic police Itahari, said that they have asked transportation office to take appropriate action against the tipper operators.
“Most of the industries are importing goods via overloaded carriers,” Sigdel said. “We have informed the police and district administration about it.”