Kolkata-Jogbani railway of no use, say tradersAlthough India developed a broad-gauge railway line from Kolkata to Jogbani some five years ago, industrialists and traders based in the Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor have been unable to route their imports through the railway line.
Although India developed a broad-gauge railway line from Kolkata to Jogbani some five years ago, industrialists and traders based in the Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor have been unable to route their imports through the railway line.
“The Indian side is ready to allow imports through that rail route, but the lack of initiation form the Nepal government is barring us from utilising the service, forcing us to pay high transportation costs,” said Pawan Sarada, president of Merchant Association of Morang. “The private sector has time and again requested the Commerce Minister and secretary to take initiatives, but they have turned a deaf ear to our requests.”
According to Sarada, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae has expressed his willingness to make arrangements to allows imports through the railway.
Use of the broad-gauge railway for imports will reduce transportation cost by 50 percent for Nepali traders. “This will reduce the cost of production as well and the benefit will ultimately be passed on to the end costumers,” he said. “Importing industrial goods in trucks and containers costs high.”
The lack of cross-border banking services is also affecting the industrialists. They have asked the government arrange a “shopping line” at the dry port and establish an integrated custom point.
Although Indian government has completed 80 percent construction of integrated custom point on its side, Nepal is yet to start construction.
The government itself is major a barrier to export promotion, according to Shiva Shanker Agrawal, president of Trade Association of Morang. “Inability to use the broad-gauge railway and lack of quarantine is affecting exports from the Jogbani,” he said. “As we don’t have a lab here, we have to visit Kolkata and Delhi for quarantine check.”