Darchula’s border points do not have customs officesOut of the seven border points that are in operation in Darchula, only one has a customs office.
Chandra Singh Dhami, a resident of Dhaulakot in Byas Rural Municipality, bought a few sacks of cement and iron rods from a neighbouring Indian town last week. He used the Tigram border point along the Nepal-India border to bring home his purchases. On Sunday, he walked all day to reach Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula, to clear customs for the goods he purchased.
“One has to visit Khalanga to pay customs for even the smallest goods brought from India for domestic use. It is difficult for villagers to travel all the way there,” said Dhami.
Like Dhami, the residents of several villages bordering with India and China are compelled to visit Khalanga to pay customs due to a lack of customs office in various points along the border.
Tigram Border, which came into operation three years ago, has yet to get a customs office. The locals have no option but to walk for hours to reach Darchula to pay customs, or simply evade the tax.
The situation of Lekam Rural Municipality is the same. Lalima border point came into operation in the area four months ago. However, authorities are yet to establish a customs office on the Nepali side.
Currently, six border points along the Nepal-India boundary in Darchula are in operation. But there is only one customs office in Jhulaghat. The other five customs points are without their individual offices.
According to Jhulaghat Customs Office, the government had set up customs offices in Tinkar, Sitapul, Dattu and Jaujibi but those offices were destroyed and displaced during the insurgency from 1996 to 2006, and are yet to be reinstated.
The locals complained that the authorities concerned have not taken any initiatives to reestablish the customs offices. In the absence of customs offices, people have been evading taxes, say local traders.