KATHMANDU, JUN 23 - Indian authorities are holding 1,000 metric tonnes of newsprint imported by Kantipur Publications at Kolkata port for the last 26 days.
India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has taken control of the newsprint imported from Canada and South Korea and stopped its shipment to Nepal, saying that the 39 containers carrying the newsprint need to be “investigated.”
No investigation, however, has been carried out despite repeated requests. Nor has Kantipur Publications been given a clear explanation for the continued delay, which has meant heavy demurrage and possibility of the newsprint getting damaged.
If the shipment is not released soon, it will put the publication of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur dailies, and Saptahik weekly in jeopardy.
Asked to explain the reason behind the delay, DRI officials in Kolkata say, “We too don’t know why. Ask Delhi.” This is the first time any newsprint meant for Nepal’s publications has been held in the Indian port for “investigation.”
According to the Nepal-Indian transit treaty, no consignment in transit can be held without explanation.
Generally, the “seal” of containers, which travel by train from Kolkata, is opened upon their arrival at the Birgunj dry port in Nepal.
Altogether, Kantipur’s three shipments have now been held in Kolkata, first of which arrived in the Indian port on May 27.
“For the last one month, we have been asking them to expedite the investigation, if you have to. Despite our repeated requests, nothing has been done to resolve the issue,” the Kantipur management said.
“We have also informed Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and the Kathmandu-based Indian Embassy. We hope the authorities concerned will take immediate measures to resolve the issue.”
Arrival in Kolkata
May 27: 11 containers arrive from Canada (275 metric tonnes)
May 29: 19 containers arrive from South Korea (475 metric tonnes)
June 12: 9 containers arrive from Canada (228 metric tonnes)
Posted on: 2010-06-23 08:43