KATHMANDU, June 6: A large number of Nepal-bound cargo trucks have been stuck on the Indian side of the Nepal-India border at Belahiya-Sunauli, after the Indian middlemen assisting in the customs clearance obstructed the movement across the border.
Navaraj Dhakal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, said the trucks have been facing hurdles in their movement since Friday. “Mainly the helpers of the customs handling agents have obstructed the movement after the Nepali authorities adopted stringent policies on the inward movement of people from India, citing the growing threat of Covid-19,” said Dhakal.
Dhakal said there are around 60 customs handling agents working at the border point. Ordinarily, each of these licensed agents looks after movement of an average of 5-6 cargos daily. An individual agent is found to be appointing numbers of helpers on both the sides mainly to handle all the office related work on behalf of the agencies. “These helpers who were infuriated by the government decision on cross-border movement have even blamed the Nepali authorities for manhandling them, leading to the obstruction of cargo movement across the border,” he added.
According to the ministry, the Bhairahawa customs normally observes movement of more than around 250 trucks loaded with imported goods on a daily basis. Dhakal said the customs authorities of both the countries are holding talks to resolve the issue. “We have also requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to simplify the movement of the agents and their helpers to carry out their usual works at the customs office,” he said.