Storage facilities to be built for dusty cargoThe Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has begun work to acquire land to streamline the transportation of dusty cargo imported from India in a bid to reduce trade costs for importers.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has begun work to acquire land to streamline the transportation of dusty cargo imported from India in a bid to reduce trade costs for importers.
The government plans to construct storage facilities around the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Birgunj to unload dusty cargos such as cement clinker and fly ash. Currently, there are no arrangements to store dusty cargo, which is transported in open wagons, at Birgunj ICD, the only gateway with a rail link.
The absence of storage facilities has forced cement industries to import the raw material by truck from the Indian states of Jharkhand and Odisha. This increases the import cost of raw materials significantly, as per industrialists. Rabi Shankar Sainju, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said the ministry had identified land plots in three locations near Birgunj ICD to manage the problem of dusty cargo. “The plots are 50-60 bighas in area and lie within a 8-10 km radius of the ICD,” Sainju said.
As per the ministry, the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board has identified the land plots after conducting a preliminary study. The Commerce Ministry is mulling to construct the required infrastructure in association with the Ministry of Urban Development.
Earlier, clinker for Nepali cement factories arrived at the Indian railway station in Raxaul where they were transferred to trucks for transportation to Nepal. Six months ago, locals in Raxaul protested against unloading the dusty cargo on Indian territory, creating difficulties for Nepali cement factories.
The residents complained that unloading the dusty cargo caused pollution which affected their health. Following the incident, the High Court in Patna also directed the Indian government to immediately control pollution in Raxaul.
Following the problems in Raxaul, Nepali importers have been asking the government to allow them to unload the dusty cargo at Birgunj dry port. However, Himalayan Terminal, a Nepal-India joint venture company in charge of managing the dry port, refused permission. Himalayan Terminal said that the dry port was not designed to store dusty cargo.
Nepal has long been requesting the Indian government to allow Nepali importers to transport cargo by rail to the nearest railway station on the Nepal-India border like Nautanwa across the border from Butwal, Jogbani across the border from Biratnagar and Rupaidiha across the border from Nepalgunj. There has been no progress so far.