September 21: Although the government has decided to give customs clearance to peas, pepper and betel nuts stopped at various transit points of the country due to import restrictions, it has still not decided anything about importing dates held at the customs points.
About 50 containers of dates have been stranded at the Birgunj Dry Port as the government has not decided what to do with them. It has been reported that the dates have started rotting because they have been held at the customs points for a long time. The government on April 29 had banned the import of dates, pepper, peas and betel nuts, citing increasing pressure on foreign exchange reserves.
Prior to giving the green signal to import the peas, pepper and betel nuts, 1,000 containers of these goods were stopped at various entry points because they were imported without the prior approval of the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control.
A cabinet meeting held on August 29 had decided to allow the entry of peas and pepper for once. Earlier, the cabinet had also decided to release the betel nuts stopped at the checkpoints.
However, importer Navneet Agrawal informed that even though peas, pepper and betel nuts were approved for clearance, only dates have been stopped at the ports for more than five months.
Agrawal has accused the government of discrimination for allowing the import of peas, pepper and betel nuts while restricting the dates.
“The government had restricted the import of all of them at the same time but has removed the restriction on only peas, pepper and betel nuts,” he informed.