India inaugurates Raxaul ICPWith the infrastructure on the Nepali side yet to be completed, Nepal has requested India not to operate its ICP unilaterally as it can complicate trade
India on Friday inaugurated the Integrated Check Post (ICP) built on its side of the Birgunj-Raxual border point, but the facility has not come into formal operation, Nepali officials have said.
With the infrastructure on the Nepali side is yet to be completed, Nepal had requested the Indian side not to operate the ICP unilaterally as it would complicate trade between the two countries.
Nepali traders have expressed concern the operation of the Indian ICP could disrupt normal trade through the Birgunj customs point because of the longer distance they have to travel to reach the ICP for customs clearance works.
“The Indian ICP was inaugurated on Friday but it has not come into operation,” said Birgunj Customs Chief Sewantak Pokharel. “As Sunday is public holiday in India, we will know only on Monday or Tuesday whether the ICP will be operated.”
If it is operated, the Indian authority will conduct customs clearance-related works at the ICP based at Panatoka, Raxual, and send the goods through the Birgunj customs. This will result in problems for traders as frequent traffic jams due to the movement of trains could force them to pay huge demurrage charges. “Even Raxual-based traders have protested the operation of the Indian ICP unilaterally as it would result in traffic jam in India,” said Pokharel.
The Nepali ICP is being built at Sirsiya which is close to the Indian ICP and operation of both the ICPs together would not create such problems. Once the Nepali ICP is completed, Birgunj customs will shift there.
According to Nepali officials, 25 percent works on the ICP on the Nepali side is still to be completed. All the services necessary for export-import such as customs, immigration, quarantine and banks, among others, are available at the ICP.