Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Army against smuggling-maybe



Finally it is out in the open that the government has always suspected the actions and workings of public servants and other bureaucrats. Stating that there is unlimited and uncontrollable smuggling of goods along Nepal's borders with India and China, the government has started deploying the army at these check posts to monitor border crossings. This action of the government proves that the bureaucracy has so far been very incompetent. The government has posted the army at the Birgunj and Tatopani borders.

The Finance Ministry will have overall command of these forces which will be used at its discretion. Earlier, people posted at most customs areas in the country were transferred when the finance minister changed. This has now been stopped, but it is said that the army may not be very effective under the command of the Finance Ministry. Although the army has been deployed, their hands are tied.

This action of the government has bewildered black marketeers, but has received the support of all legitimate business people. In the initial stage, forces are being posted only at the Tatopani and Birgunj custom areas. Seventy soldiers have been posted at Birgunj and 30 at Tatopani. At a later stage, armed forces personnel will be deployed at all the customs check posts of the country. The Finance Ministry had expected to collect close to Rs 52 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year in customs revenues, but was able to collect only Rs 23 billion. This is a shortfall of over 50 percent. The army has been deployed to strengthen revenue collection. The armed forces posted at the check posts will examine all material entering the country. They will be allowed to carry out sudden inspections and if anyone tries obstruct their functioning, they are allowed to open fire. The catch is that in carrying out all the above functions, they will have to get permission from the chief of customs. So what will actually happen is that the army will not be able to work independently. Their hands will always be tied by the customs chief, a civilian who, in most cases, works hand in glove with major political parties and business people.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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