KATHMANDU, Dec 1: Traders and industrialists are being forced to bribe Indian security personnel and customs officials to release trucks and containers carrying consignments particularly from third countries.
They say they have to pay up to IRs 25,000 per truck. However, trucks carrying Indian goods, except petroleum products, are being released in a fast track mode.
Traders and industrialists that Republica talked to on Tuesday said the additional cost will ultimately fall on the consumers.
A top official of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said trade agents were working as middlemen to secure release of their consignments stuck at border points. A Biratnagar-based trader told Republica that he was ready to pay additional cost rather than face huge loss due to delay in delivery of consignments.
The queue of trucks and containers has reached Forbesgunj – an Indian town lying 13 kilometers away from Jogbani trade point on Nepal-India border. Traders say they can bring trucks and containers stuck in the queue forward by paying as little as Rs 4,000 to Indian security personnel. “But it will be difficult if one has many trucks stuck in the queue,” a trader told Republica, requesting anonymity.
Traders also said it is becoming difficult for Nepali agents as Indian customs officials prefer to work with Indian trade agents these days.
Similar is the story of third country consignments entering the country through Sunauli border crossing. “Though Indian officials had issued coupons for systematic release of containers from the border crossing on Sunday, it was made ineffective the other day,” a top official of FNCCI said. “Indian security personnel and customs officials did this deliberately to seek bribe from Nepali traders and industrialists.”
Nepal’s main trade route of Birgunj has remained shut for more than two months, affecting imports of essential commodities, including petroleum products, and third country goods.
Earlier, local goons had forced traders and industrialists to pay additional amount for release of their trucks through Kakarbhitta customs point in eastern Nepal.
Published on: My Republica (December 01, 2015)