300 containers stranded in Khasa due to strike

- POST REPORT, Chautara

Jan 12, 2015-

More than 300 Nepal-bound laden container trucks have been stranded in the jungle around Khasa on the Chinese side of the border after container workers intensified protests against the local administration.

Revenue collection for the Nepal government has also been hit as no customs duties have been coming in. Around 1,200 container trucks ply the Nepal-China route.

Container workers launched protests after the police arrested a number of them for questioning following the death of one Gyanu Raj Thakuri who was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Panchkhal, Kavre last week. The police have taken six container workers into custody from Sindhupalchok.

“Containers cleared by the customs office have been stuck at the customs yard due to the strike,” said Divya Raj Pokhrel, chief of the customs office. “The prolonged strike has completely affected trade on the Nepal-China border, and it has also hit the government’s revenue collection target,” he said. The office has so far fulfilled 66 percent of the revenue target for this month.

Normally, readymade garments for the winter season, apple and garlic, among other products, are imported from China during this time of the year. “As the strike has continued for a week, the apples imported from China have started to rot,” said Dorje Lama, vice-president of the Sindhupalchok Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “If the issue is not sorted out immediately, traders will have to bear losses in the millions of rupees.” Around 1,200 containers have been waiting for clearance from the customs yard and other points since last week. Traders said that they had been facing such problems frequently that had affected their business.

Durga Raj Shrestha, advisor to the Nepal Transport Independent Workers Union, said that the workers launched protests since the administration had been harassing them without any reason.

The arrested workers have denied any involvement in the hit-and-run case. “If the workers are not released, we will be forced to stop transport movement in other places too,” said Shrestha.

However, Kavre DSP Puja Singh said that they had been holding some workers for questioning, and that their intention was not to harass them. “It is normal to interrogate suspects following any incident.”

In September last year, more than 1,000 Nepal-bound container trucks packed with goods were stranded on a stretch of the highway in Khasa as the road to Kathmandu was cut off. Traders said that the goods in the parked containers at the Tatopani Customs yard had been damaged by rain.

Published: 13-01-2015 09:53

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