BIRGUNJ, NOV 5: Most of the industrialists in Birgunj-Pathlaiya Industrial Corridor have been forced to pay millions of rupees as rent and fine to Indian Railway because of the inability to use land owned by Nepal Railway in Raxaul, India.
Indians have encroached upon the land and build huts and other structure in the land, which is near the station of Indian Railway, because of the negligence of concerned government officials.
While the Nepal Railways' land remains unused, industrialists have been unloading imported goods in the land of Indian Railway by paying rent to the Indian company. The company slapped hefty fine on them if the goods are not cleared in time.
Ashok Baidhya, director of Simara-based Unitech Cement, said it is difficult to clear imported goods in time because of traffic jam and shortage of laborers. “We have to pay high demurrage charge if imported goods are not cleared in time,” Baidhya, who is also the former president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI), told Republica. “The closure of Nepali and Indian custom offices between 11 pm and 5 am makes things even difficult.”
According to Baidhya, the BCCI has long been requesting the concerned government agencies to prepare the land of Nepal Railway in Raxaul for loading and unloading of goods. “This will reduce our import and export cost,” he added.
Nepal had purchased the land from the British government in 1927 at Rs 31,725 to operate railway service between Raxaul and Amlekhgunj. Encroachment of the land by Indians began after the service was stopped 38 years ago.
Nepal Railway Company Truck and Container Service (NRCTCS) have the authority to use the land of Nepal Railway. Industrialists say that NRCTCS has not taken initiative to use the land.
Clinker and coal lead the list of imports at the Raxaul station, according to importers.
Another industrialist Rajesh Kyala said clinkers bought in a train having 58 bogies can fill 120 to 125 tipper trucks. “It is impossible to clear all clinkers within the nine hours given by the Indian Railway,” he said, adding: “We have to pay demurrage fee of IRs 9,000 demurrage per hour for raw materials brought in one railway rake.”
Nepal Railway has more than 16 bigha land in Raxaul station. A joint meeting of Nepali and Indian security personnel held six years ago had decided to remove encroachers from the land. But nothing was done.
Around a dozen cement industries in Birgunj-Pathlaiya corridor have been importing raw materials via Raxaul station.