BIRGUNJ, Feb 11: Less than a week after cargo handling agents of Kolkata port ended their protests, transport operators have launched another protest crippling movement of Nepal-bound cargoes from the port.
The Indo-Nepal Trucks and Trailers Owners Association operators have halted movement of trucks and trailers since Saturday afternoon. This means cargoes meant for Nepal have not left Kolkata port since then.
The transport operators are protesting a decision to divert cargo vehicles to another road citing high traffic in Bhagalpur Bridge. The decision means trucks and trailers have to take a diversion which is 300 kilometers longer.
A notice issued by the society's president Manoj Kumar Tiwari states that the protest will continue till a solution to the issue is found.
Truck and trailer owners are putting pressure on local authorities to find a 'viable diversion' for them, stating that the existing diversion was increasing their cost of operations.
"The protest is over deeply-rooted problems that the truck-trailer businesses have been facing,” a clearing agent of Kolkata port told Republica.
The protest has affected movement of cargoes coming to both Birgunj and Biratnagar customs points.
Meanwhile, the Nepalese Consulate in Kolkata does not any idea of what is affecting movement of Nepal-bound cargoes.
"The clearing agents are gaining greater control over the Nepal-bound cargos. They often collude with transport operators to create unnecessary hurdles to Nepali traders and businessmen," an importer said, requesting anonymity.
Nepal and India have agreed to introduce Electronic Cargo Trekking System for Nepal-bound cargoes from February 25. The decision will the role of trucks and trailer from the supply chain and is expected to reduce their rule in Nepal's third country trade. It is also expected to lower transportation cost for Nepali traders.
It is because of this that Kolkata-based clearing agents and transporters are obstructing movement of Nepal-bound cargoes.