More than three weeks after export business in Gelephu came to a complete halt following the implementation of the carrying capacity rule, three commercial trucks left for Charpar in Assam yesterday.

The trucks were carrying stone aggregates.

Gelephu reopened its gate for export after the Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) resumed the issuance of export permit as per the interim guidelines for surface collection and dredging of riverbed materials (RBM) for export, 2019 that the Cabinet approved on May 28 and June 4.


How does this work?  

After the enforcement of carrying capacity rule on the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), movements of commercial were strictly monitored. DoFPS had stopped issuing the export permit in absence of a weighbridge that is used to verify the weight on the vehicles.

As per the new guidelines, it was learnt that the DoFPS could issue the export permits based on the number of wheels of the vehicle. However, forest officials had to levy the revised fees and charges based on the guidelines.

According to the revised rates, export permit fee was increased from Nu 10 to Nu 20 a truckload. The service charges are collected based on the number of wheels of the vehicle at the exit point along with the permit fees.

Now, a six-wheeler truck would be charged Nu 300 a truckload and a 10-wheeler would be charged Nu 450 per truckload. Similarly, a 12-wheeler and a 14-wheeler truck would be charged Nu 550 and Nu 600 per truckload respectively.

This means that irrespective of the weight carried by a truck, export permit would be provided based on the number of wheels of the vehicle. Forest officials said that the department would not be concerned about checking the weight on the trucks.

The following documents – certificate of origin and the export declaration form from trade and customs offices are produced based on the export permit from the DoFPS.


Where is the weight?

The three trucks that exited the border gate yesterday had reflected 18 metric tonnes (MT) on the export declaration form. However, there is still no weighbridge in Gelephu. The initial receipt from the private crushing unit had declared 18MT as per the GVW rule.

Sources say that the issue is back to square one where weight, which is the main reason for the ongoing issue, has been removed from the picture. “If we are considering the consignments based on truckloads, where is the weight issue?” said a source. “Without a weighbridge and overlooking the mass factor would bring us back to the same problem.”

As per section 52 of the interim guidelines, ‘the quantity to be approved for export of boulder/aggregates/sand shall be as per the tonnage permissible in accordance to GVW/Wheeler Trucks.”

Meanwhile, export of boulders to Bangladesh from Gelephu is yet to resume since it stopped on April 24.

Younten Tshedup  | Gelephu