Robbers target trucks stranded along borderRobbers have started to target drivers of cargo trucks (headed towards Nepal) stranded on the Indian side of the Birgunj-Raxaul border point due to strikes in the Tarai.
Robbers have started to target drivers of cargo trucks (headed towards Nepal) stranded on the Indian side of the Birgunj-Raxaul border point due to strikes in the Tarai.
According to the drivers, armed groups have been robbing them off cash and mobile phones, besides looting batteries and diesel, among others, from the trucks.
Rabindra Pathak, one of the drivers stranded at Raxaul, said about 150 litres of diesel was stolen from his truck on Thursday night.
He said he stepped out of the truck after he heard the sound of the fuel tank lock being broken.
“But a person pointed a gun at me and took away the oil,” he complained.
Pathak had arrived in Raxual nine days ago from India’s Kolkata port.
Similarly, the thieves stole the battery of a truck operated by driver Jogindar Singh who had brought food items from New Delhi. “I came to know the battery was stolen after the truck did not start,” said Singh.
Ajaya Ray, who arrived in Raxual 18 days ago, was beaten up after he confronted the robbers. “They took away my cash and mobile phone,” he said. His truck was loaded with machinery parts imported from India’s Gujarat.
About 100 of the drivers have so far been robbed, they said, adding the robbery has intensified for the last 10
days. “I am very sad as I have been looted on the Indian soil while carrying goods to Nepal,” said Ray. “The local administration has not shown any interest in the matter.”
He said the Indian police seek IRs500 to resister complaints. “The police have instructed us to stay inside the vehicle to save our lives,” he said.
However, Deputy Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kumar, who has been assigned at a police post in Raxual, said they have not yet received any complaints about the theft and robbery.
Not only the Nepali drivers, even the Indian drivers are suffering. The stranded drivers have complained they are running out of money and it is difficult for them to survive. “We are running out of cash given by the Indian transport company,” said Shamsad Alam, a truck driver who has brought goods from Kolkata. “The Nepali importer does not give us money until we unload the goods.”
The drivers are also facing problems of drinking water and toilet.
During normal times, about 1,000 trucks used to get clearance from the Birgunj Customs Office. “But now, only about 200 trucks head to their destinations under the police escort daily,” according to a customs officer.