Nima | Gelephu

Orange export to Bangladesh has become expensive due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Bhutanese exporters now have to pay more for verifying export documents at Dathgari checkpoint in India.

Each export truck has to pay Nu 3,000 at the checkpoint.

Export resumed from Gelephu last week but depots are mostly empty.

With new hands doing the packaging in absence of inspectors from Bangladesh, exporters are worried about the price at the export market in Bangladesh.

There are only eight exporters today. Last year, there were 13.

An exporter from Gelephu said that the collection of informal taxes or charges happened for almost all the goods transacted across the border.

Sources say the documents are not verified if truckers and exporters do not come through informal charges collectors.

Although Indian drivers and truckers are involved in carrying oranges this time, exporters said that the charges collected informally at the checkpoints were added on the transportation cost, making export costly.

A businessman said the practice was common in trade across the border. “It used to be around Nu 200 per truck. It has increased by leaps and bounds.”

There is no escape for the exporters. They have to pay if their consignments must reach the destination without damage.

Sangay, an exporter from Paro, said the pandemic made orange export difficult. “If they stop us along the way, damage will be huge.”