KATHMANDU, July 13: The Indian government has indicated that exports of medicinal herbs that came to a grinding halt few months back following introduction of a new law by the state-government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), contravening the bilateral trade treaty, will resume in a few days.
Officials at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu Thursday assured Nepali traders that exports of their consignments will resume within three days, following the government´s diplomatic initiation to resolve the problem.“
"The embassy officials said we would be able to export medicinal herbs worth of Rs 300 million stuck at Nepalgunj customs point two months ago within three day”," Madhukar Thapa, president of the Jadi Buti Association of Nepal (JBAN), told Republica. Exporters on Thursday held a meeting with embassy officials during which request to take immediate steps to prevent their products from decaying was placed.
In this regard, the embassy has asked for a list of names of products so that it can communicate with the concerned agency in the central government and state-government back in India“ "We are pursuing the issue so that exports of medicinal herbs can resume as soon as possible,”one of the embassy officials said preferring anonymity“ "However, it will take a bit longer to change the law that has been imposed by the UP government."
The exports of medicinal herbs from mid- and far-western regions came to a grinding halt after the UP government made it mandatory for Nepali exporters to acquire a license from UP´s Department of Forest to continue exports.
Such a provision was introduced against the spirit of bilateral trade treaty between Nepal and India that ensures free movement of all goods of Indian or Nepali origin in each other´s territory, without subjecting them to any quantitative restrictions, licensing or permit systems.
The exporters had last week met Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai and asked him to take initiatives to solve the problem.
According to Thapa, 7,000 to 7,500 tons of medicinal herbs are exported from the Nepalgunj customs point to India. "We have been reassured that the medicinal herbs which are now lying at the customs point won´t decay due to the procedural hurdles that were created by the UP government," Thapa said, after the meeting at the embassy.