August 4: About 10,000 sacks of urea, a chemical fertilizer extensively used in the agriculture sector of Nepal, are stranded in Tatopani customs since the last three months. While farmers across the country are facing extreme shortage of fertilizer, 9,970 sacks of urea are stranded due to the negligence of the importers and the state-owned Agriculture Inputs Company Limited.
The problem started when the two companies, Silk and Sinovac, who bagged the contract issued by the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited, delayed the purchase from China.
According to the contract, the fertilizer should have been handed over to the Agriculture Inputs Company Limited within 120 days. However, those two companies could not bring the fertilizer within the given deadline.
After that, Silk and Sinovac ignored the notice issued by Agriculture Inputs Company Limited requesting them to come into contact within 21 days.
Later, Agriculture Inputs Company Limited filed a case against both the companies in court. While the case was sub judice, the fertilizer arrived at the Tatopani customs. Although the importing companies informed about the arrival of fertilizer, Agriculture Inputs Company Limited refused to receive the consignment. The Agriculture Inputs Company Limited did not even send inspection team for mandatory quality tests to be done when importing fertilizer from the customs. Due to this tussle, the fertilizer that arrived at the customs after a long process is on verge of being damaged.
Narad Gautam, the head of customs informed that Tatopani customs warned the importing company twice to release the fertilizer from the customs as soon as possible saying that the fertilizer may get damaged in the warehouse.
“However, the importer company has not come in contact yet,” he said. The fertilizer arrived at Tatopani Customs on May 13.
According to sources, the companies importing the fertilizer have to pay Rs 5.5 million for keeping the fertilizer in the warehouse of Nepal Transit and Warehousing Company Limited in Tatopani for three months.
Sources claim that the fertilizer failed to enter Nepal as both the importing companies were involved in the process of getting the charge waived.