Bhairahawa rising as major transit point after blockadeBhairahawa has been turning into one of the country’s main transit points as many traders have been bringing their shipments through this trade hub on the southern border after the Birgunj customs point was choked by the recent trade embargo by India.
Bhairahawa has been turning into one of the country’s main transit points as many traders have been bringing their shipments through this trade hub on the southern border after the Birgunj customs point was choked by the recent trade embargo by India.
Sipradi Trading, the authorized dealer of Tata Motors in Nepal, is one of the companies using this route for importing vehicles. Sipradi started importing autos through this customs point after the Madhesi protest movement against the new Constitution blocked their usual route. The company has now made Bhairahawa their permanent transit point.
Sipradi has leased two bighas of land at Madauli on the Bhairahawa-Butwal highway where it has established an office and parking lot. “After the protestors targeted Birgunj as the main venue to carry out their protests, we have considered this area as the best alternative,” said Govinda Upadhyaya, branch manager of Sipradi. Accord-ing to him, they will be impor-ting only a limited number of vehicles through Birgunj.
Likewise, almost all the other automobile importers have started using the Bhairahawa customs point for their shipments. These trading companies have rented land around Bhairahawa and constructed warehouses.
The growing interest in the Bhairahawa customs point among auto traders has led to an increase in other trading activities too. The area is witnessing growing people’s settlements and opening of guesthouses and petrol pumps, among other activities. Similarly, land prices have soared almost three-fold since the Tarai unrest.
Bhairahawa was widely used as a transit point during the Tarai unrest and Indian trade embargo when other transit points on the Nepal-India border were tightly closed, with Birgunj bearing the brunt of the blockade.
The area was considered to be one of the safest routes for trading with the southern neighbour. Due to this reason, Bhairahawa customs was one of the top choices for traders who needed to reroute their shipments of imported goods including gasoline that were stuck in Birgunj-Raxaul area.
Not only automobile dealers but also hoteliers and manufacturers have been shifting their businesses to Bhairahawa, said industrialist Sitaram Upreti. “After the Tarai unrest, the area is now the main choice for many entrepreneurs even from Kathmandu and Pokhara.”
Revenue collection has also swelled with the surge in shipments through Bhairahawa and the customs office here has surpassed the revenue collection target. The customs office fulfilled the entire year’s revenue collection target in eight months.
The customs office collected revenue of Rs34.51 billion as of mid-March while the target for the whole year is Rs30.11 billion.