Cargoes reroutedThe Finance Ministry’s decision to allow importers to reroute their shipments through customs points other than the troubled Birgunj-Raxaul crossing has come as a big relief to the latter.
The Finance Ministry’s decision to allow importers to reroute their shipments through customs points other than the troubled Birgunj-Raxaul crossing has come as a big relief to the latter.
They have already started to reroute their shipments.
The Birgunj Customs Office has remained shut for the past four months due to the Tarai unrest and Indian embargo.
The decision taken on December 6 is applicable only for third-country imports. If a trader has imported goods by making an advance payment to Birjung Customs, s/he can adjust the payment while bringing in the goods via other customs point.
A long queue of trucks, spanning several kilometres, has been formed on the Indian side of the border due to the blockade. More than 10,000 loaded trucks, including 4,000 large containers, are still stuck on the Indian side.
According to Pradeep Kediya, president of Birjung Chamber of Commerce, the government’s decision has given some respite to the traders. “This decision has relieved many traders importing goods to via Kolkata port,” he said.
Since Birgunj is the nearest customs point from Kolkata, most of the traders use this route for shipping goods. More than 60 percent of imports from third countries are brought in via this route.
Since the Tarai unrest was launched against the promulgation of the new Constitution on September 20, the country has been facing unavailability and shortages of essentials, including petroleum and medicine.
Thus, the government’s decision is also expected to give some respite to consumers with a possible improvement in the supply situation.