Hundreds of cargo trucks laden with essential commodities failed to enter Nepal via India today as well, as Madhesi parties and groups continued their protests at different border points across the Tarai for the fourth consecutive day.
With this, many parts of the country have started feeling the crunch of various commodities, especially fuel.
Mitralal Regmi, chief of Birgunj Customs Office, and Krishna Basnet, chief of Biratnagar Customs Office, told THT that not a single cargo truck bound for Nepal has entered the country from the Indian side of the border for the last three days because of protests at border points.
Over 60 per cent of foreign goods, including Indian, enter Nepal via Birgunj Customs Office. This is also the only customs point linked with Kolkata dock via a rail line.
But sit-ins staged by cadres of the United Democratic Madhesi Forum at no man’s land have prevented cargo vehicles from entering Nepal.
The situation is the same at Biratnagar customs point, where UDMF cadres have staged a sit-in around Rani Customs Office. Protests of the last few days at this customs point have barred over 800 cargo trucks from entering Nepal via Jogbani in India.
Today, the situation even became tense at the Biratnagar customs point for some time after protesters hurled brickbats on police officials.
Protesters also tried to create problems at Mechi Customs Office in Kakadvitta today. Police later rounded up two of the protesters — Sundar Rajbanshi and Trilochan Rajbanshi, according to Deputy Superintendent of Police at Jhapa Police Office Bhim Bahadur Dahal.
Although police were able to bring the situation under control, not many cargo trucks entered Nepal from this customs point today. “We received only eight cargo trucks filled with clinker, fruits and fishes,” Mechi Customs Office Chief Bhim Adhikari said, adding, “Around 43 carts of vegetables were also exported from the customs point.”
Eleven trucks laden with commodities also entered Nepali territory today from customs point at Bhairahawa. Of these, three trucks were carrying potatoes, two cooking gas, two petrol, two fruits, one rice and one cement.
“We received those goods after I and security chief of the area went to Nautanwa, India, and held talks with security officials,” said Bhairahawa Customs Office Chief Lavanya Dhakal. “We went to Nautanwa after we did not receive any good till 4:00pm.”
Also, 12 cargo vehicles, including six containing diesel, entered Nepal from Nepalgunj customs point today. “We have asked Indian officials to send 50-60 tankers of petroleum products stranded across the border in India,” said Nepalgunj Customs Office Chief Rajendra Hamal.
The situation is the same at Belhi, Andharamanth and Nyaur customs points in Saptari, where UDMF cadres have staged sit-in protest.
The protesters have also staged a sit-in at a bridge, which links the Indian town of Bairganiya with customs point at Gaur in Rautahat district. This has barred movement of cargo vehicles in the area. (With inputs from Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Jhapa, Saptari and Rautahat correspondents)