Trade through Biratnagar border point resumes

  • business as usual
- Dev Narayan Shah, MORANG
Rail services resumed on Saturday evening, and cargo trains from Kolkata port have started arriving at Jogbani after 28 days

Sep 11, 2017-The Biratnagar border point is back in business and Nepal-India trade has resumed after being disrupted last month when a bridge and a railway track linking the Indian customs point at Jogbani were damaged by massive floods.

Rail services came back into operation on Saturday evening, and cargo trains from Kolkata port have started arriving at Jogbani after 28 days.

“On Sunday, our office received a shipment of metallic wire imported by a Nepali businessperson,” said Krishna Basnet, chief of Biratnagar Customs. “Indian Railways has informed us that cargo services resumed on Saturday and that passenger services would restart on Sunday.”  

Likewise, workers have been scrambling to repair a flood-damaged bridge at Mirjungghat. A 15-member crew has been working round the clock for the last 20 days to restore the bridge. 

Indian authorities have promised to bring the bridge into operation before the Dashain festival when large numbers of Nepalis working in the bordering towns of India return to their homes. A section of the bridge collapsed after a pillar supporting it fell down due to the flood. 

Last month’s floods had damaged the bridge in Mirjungghat and a 4-km-long railway track linking Jogbani in India. Following the damage caused to the infrastructure, cargo vehicles were prevented from entering Nepal via the Biratnagar-Jogbani customs point, one of the main entry points on the Nepal-India border in the eastern region. 

More than 500 factories in the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor using the Biratnagar-Jogbani customs point to import raw materials and export finished products were hit hard after the transport link was severed and faced the risk of temporary closure. 

In order to keep supply lines to the industrial corridor open, the government had made arrangements to reroute shipments through the Bhimnagar-Bhantabari small customs checkpoint. 

Likewise, people travelling to India for medical treatment had been much inconvenienced due to the damaged road and rail links. They had to ride an electric rickshaw to reach the nearest Indian town 6 km away to catch a bus. 

Meanwhile, revenue collection by Biratnagar customs also plunged by almost 50 percent due to the halt in trade. 

“Earlier, we used to collect around Rs80 million daily from imports. But collection came down to Rs40 million daily,” said Basnet. “With the resumption of rail services, revenue collection is expected to rise in the coming days.”

Published: 11-09-2017 06:44

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