DHANGADHI, March 30: Locals of Kailali have joined hands to curb cross-border smuggling “as the responsible authorities have turned a blind eye to the illegal import and export of goods despite being informed.”
On Monday, locals of Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City ward no.2 and police officers confiscated 30 sacks of illegally imported goods. Goods worth millions of rupees are illegally imported every month from various customs points of Kailali by evading tax. "As police pay less heed to the open smuggling, we had to take the officers of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and customs officials to seize illegally imported goods," said Maniraj Joshi, a local who heads the Purano Bhansar Tole Samiti, adding, "If they won't do anything, we will have to do something."
Villagers lament that the police do not cooperate with them. They have accused the police of not punishing the smugglers even after seizing the smuggled goods. According to Joshi, a smuggler had beaten up a woman who tried to confiscate the smuggled goods but still the police didn't take any action against him. "We won't let our ward become a center of smuggling," said a local, Dharmaraj Ojha. Locals have even submitted a written statement to the police demanding action against smugglers.
Earlier, Santosh Mudhvari, ward chief of Dhangadhi Sub-metropolis, ward no. 1, had informed the police about smuggling but still he got no good response. As a result, he himself confiscated 18 inverter batteries illegally imported from India. "Locals are obliged to curb smuggling by risking their lives as the responsible authorities have failed to perform their job," said ward chief Mudhvari.
Illegally imported goods are brought through the custom points of ward no.2, 3, 8,9,10,12,14,18 and 19, according to Mudvari. Despite having enough evidence to prove that a large cache of goods are illegally imported in Kailali, the authorities concerned have remained mum. Mostly, goods like clothes, hardware tools, cement, batteries, and sugar among others are smuggled. Many wholesale markets of Dhangadhi are selling smuggled goods. There is no record of any shop importing any goods from India at the customs office except Ankit Traders. There are a lot of wholesale stores in Dhangadhi which supply clothes and hardware to a large number of stores in Province 7 but there is no record that they have imported those items from India.
According to the police, there are agents of smugglers deployed at various customs points. Binod Ghimire, a police inspector in Kailali, said that the district shares a 101 km long border with India and that there are 23 customs points. Unfortunately, police are present only at five customs points which makes it easier for the smugglers to smuggle the goods. He stated that it will be easier for the police to nab the smugglers if the locals cooperate with them.
Govinda Rijal, chief district officer of Kailali, stated that he has urged the authorities concerned to take stern action against the smugglers.