Trade eased but market still facing shortagesImport-export activities through border points in the Eastern Region have eased for the last two weeks, but the market is still reeling under shortages of fuel and daily essential commodities.
Import-export activities through border points in the Eastern Region have eased for the last two weeks, but the market is still reeling under shortages of fuel and daily essential commodities.
Flow of petroleum products and industrial raw materials has improved after India eased trade restrictions.
Biratnagar Customs Office has exceeded its revenue collection target by Rs940 million. The office collected Rs7.44 billion as of Tuesday, against the target of Rs6.50 billion for until mid-January this fiscal year. “The customs office has seen increased import-export activities for the last two weeks,” said Rajendra Dhungana, a custom official.
Imports of goods from India has increased significantly, but imports from third countries
are still nominal, according to traders.
Rajendra Raut, senior vice-president of Morang Merchant Association, said the market was not facing short-supply of Indian goods. “Although fuel imports have improved though the Jogbani-Biratnagar route, due to ineffective supply mechanism of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC),
people are facing difficulties,”
“We hear the fuel supply has improved, but we still have to wait for three weeks to get five litres of petrol and a half-filled cooking gas cylinder,” said Nandu Jaju, a local trader. “We are still forced to buy petrol at Rs160 per litre and a cooking gas cylinder at Rs6,000 in the black-market.”
Morang CDO Ek Dev Adhikari admitted the government has failed to supply fuel to big infrastructure projects and the general people. “We are forced to divert 40 percent of the total fuel consignment made here to the Kathmandu valley,” he said, adding NOC has 400,000 litres of petrol and 2.8 million litres of diesel in its stock.
The NOC head office has
directed its eastern region office to distribute 400,000 litres of fuel daily. On a normal day, fuel consumption in the region stands at 500,000 litres.
Meanwhile, fuel imports through the eastern border point in Kakarvitta has improved comparatively, but traders are artificially hiking commodity prices in the name of fuel shortage. “Prices of all goods, from salt to meat, have skyrocketed,” said Gopal Shrestha, a local of Buttabari
Despite the artificial price hike, the local administration has not made efforts to control the malpractice. “We have been monitoring the market, but it has not been effective,” admitted Jha[a CDO Tej Prasad Poudel. “We are facing human resource crunch to monitor the market on a regular basis.”