April 9: The entry of trucks and lorries carrying imported goods at the Birgunj Customs Point has reduced significantly due to the ongoing lockdown.
Previously, Birgunj Customs Point used to record entry of around 700 trucks and lorries each day on an average but the number of such vehicles entering the country has now reduced to 50 per day.
Lockdown both in Nepal and India has affected the flow of goods. Due to the growing fear of coronavirus infection, customs staff are not able to work freely in both the countries.
Ramesh Sukmani, senior officer of Birgunj Customs Office, informed New Business Age that the border point in Birgunj used to record entry of 700 trucks regularly in normal days but the number now has reduced to 50 trucks only.
The importers are not able to clear their goods arriving from the customs point. Customs officials informed that the agents of the importers refuse to come to the customs office to clear their goods due to the fear of coronavirus.
At present, more than 300 trucks with imported goods and 800 new vehicles have been stranded at Inaruwa and Integrated Check Post in Birgunj, Sukmani informed.
The import of medicines also has been reduced by 50 percent.
Importers are facing difficulties bringing in necessary items including medicines, foodstuff and petroleum despite the government’s commitment to ensure smooth supply of these items.
A total of 429,940 kgs of medicines and raw materials for making medicines have been imported through the Birgunj border point in the last 15 days of the lockdown. Out of them, 182,000 kgs are readymade medicines. The import is half the amount of medicines imported in normal days, Sukamani added.