Banda affects movement of cargo from customs points
KATHMANDU, May 22: Around a thousand vehicles carrying essential goods are stranded in the northern and southern border areas of the country due to bandas called by various groups, compelling importers to pay extra cost, which will eventually be transferred to consumers.
Cargo trucks are currently lying in the yard of Biratnagar Customs Office. Trucks that are carrying raw material for industries, mainly located in the Morang-Sunsari industrial corridor, and fast moving consumer goods, are currently stuck in the customs office since the last five days, Binod Kunwar, chief of customs office, told Republica on Monday.
Similarly, imports from China have come to a complete halt and more than 60 containers are stranded in the yard of Tatopani Customs Office, while around 350 empty-containers are in the Birgunj inland containers depot (ICD). The containers that are stranded in the Birgunj ICD had brought iron, feeds and fast moving consumer goods.
“The empty containers which are on the property of Indian shipping companies charge US$14 per day,” Rajan Sharma, president of Nepal Freight Forwarders´ Association (NFFA), told Republica.
Similarly, goods such as summer apparels and cosmetics that are imported from China are stuck in the Tatopani Customs Office. “More than a dozen containers are lying in the Tibetan territory of China,” said officials at the Tatopani customs.
Importers, such as Arjun Sapkota, fear agricultural products, like fruits, imported from China might be ruined if they are not taken to the market in time.
Abhinas Bohara, president of the Morang Merchants´ Association (MMA), said many industries are on the verge of closure due to scarcity of raw materials. According to local importers, they have to pay detention charge of up to Rs 2,500 per day to customs office in case their vehicles have to be parked in the yard of the office.
“The whole cost that occurs due to delay in the transporting goods will ultimately be transferred to customers,” Sharma said.
(With reports from Dhurba Dangal from Sindhupalchwok, Ritesh Tripathi from Birgunj and Khila Nath Dhakal from Biratnagar.)