The reopening of the Birgunj border point has set cash registers ringing at the customs office with Rs65.5 million in revenue collected in a single day on Sunday. Birgunj is Nepal’s largest trade gateway and handles 70 percent of its imports and exports.
Nearly 100 cargo-laden trucks, apart from private motor vehicles, rolled into Nepal through the border point on Sunday after India relaxed transit restrictions on Friday for the first time in four and a half months.
The Indian media, quoting the External Affairs Ministry, said that supplies from India to Nepal, crippled for months due to the agitation by the Madhesi community, had “normalized to a large extent” as around 1,300 trucks are going to Nepal every day.
According to Sushil Prasad Sharma, information officer of the customs office, more than 200 cargo-laden trucks entered Nepal on Friday and Saturday.
Most of the shipments were from the third countries. The customs office said that revenue collection on Friday and Saturday amounted to Rs8.8 million and Rs38.5 million respectively.
Sharma said that the collection was expected to double on Monday as a large number of vehicles had completed the required paperwork and would be cleared for passage from the beginning of the week.
The Birgunj Customs Office collected Rs14 billion in revenue in the first seven months of this fiscal year against the target of Rs56 billion.
Sharma said that Nepal lost Rs44 billion in customs revenue from the Birgunj point alone due to the border obstruction that lasted for nearly four and a half months.
He said that as of Monday afternoon, nearly a dozen oil tankers had arrived at the Raxaul fuel depot to load. After the border obstruction was lifted on Friday, fuel tankers were allowed to cross the border point for the first time in 137 days.
“If Indian Oil Corporation loads Nepali tankers and Indian customs clears their entry permits without hassles, gasoline will start flowing from Raxaul by Monday night,” said Sharma.
On Saturday, four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets and a diesel tanker entered Nepal. The shipments had been stranded at the border for a long time.
Local residents and businessmen, frustrated by the prolonged protests, had forcefully opened the border point on Friday, allowing cargo trucks and vehicles to cross the border.
Source: The Kathmandu Post