Rasuwagadhi border busy despite poor infrastructure

- Post Report, RASUWA

Jan 27, 2018-Imports through Rasuwagadhi on the border with China have been rising despite poor infrastructure and lack of screening devices on the Nepal side. In the first six months of the current fiscal year, Rs7.81 billion worth of goods entered the country through the border point. Exports amounted to Rs1.11 billion. The government earned Rs1.61 billion in customs duties and fees during the same period.

The main import items were readymade garments, apples, ladies sandals, rubber materials, plastic footwear, handbags, leather shoes, motor batteries and other plastic products. The key exports were metal curios, henna, toothpaste, cosmetic products, noodles, pasta, chocolate, woollen carpets, chewing gum and hair products.

The Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point formally came into operation in November 2014. It was closed for a brief period after the April 2015 earthquake. After China declared the Rasuwagadhi border point as an international border point in August 2017, it has been witnessing increased movement of goods and Chinese tourists.

More than 250 containers pass through the border post every day. However, due to the immigration, customs, quarantine and bank offices being scattered all over the places, businesspeople are having a hard time getting their paperwork done.

Despite the fact that Rasuwagadhi is an international customs point connected with China, proper facilities are lacking on the Nepal side of the border. Landslides, dust storms and stones rolling down cliffs are common occurrences. 

Police perform customs inspection out of makeshift tarpaulin tents. The customs office is located at Timure which is 1.5 km from the border. A parking yard for containers is lacking. Whenever a large number of containers arrive, customs inspection has to be done on the roadside.

Gopal Koirala, head customs officer of Rasuwagadhi Customs Office, said that customs work comes to a halt when it rains as inspection has to be done under the open sky. There is no electricity as the temporary yard is located on the banks of a river, and it is difficult to work at night, he added.

Trader Uttam Gautam said that it was not possible to check the condition of the imported goods because businesspeople and drivers from outside the district are not allowed to go up to Kerung on the Chinese side of the border. 

Landslides at various spots have not been cleared so far. Businesspeople say that they are having a hard time as one-day passes are not issued to out-of-district traders and drivers. 

Due to this restriction, traders have to worry about goods being lost in Kerung and vehicles requiring repair getting stranded. Businessperson Basu Basnet said that goods get stolen because the customs yard is not properly organized and secure. 

Equipment such as vehicle x-ray, metal detector and CC camera are lacking, and so customs checks have to be performed manually which adds to the problem, he said.

Published: 27-01-2018 08:37

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