Kathmandu: India has simplified transit procedures for facilitating relief supplies to landlocked Nepal -- rocked by a devastating quake last month which claimed more than 8,700 lives and destroyed a large number of buildings and infrastructure in more than half of the Himalayan nation's 75 districts.
The Indian government on Monday announced it has introduced simplified transit procedures for facilitating relief supplies to Nepal by international humanitarian organisations as well as governments in the aftermath of the April 25 temblor.
To facilitate movement of these supplies, it has been decided that no bond, security or bank guarantee, which are normally taken for transit cargo to Nepal, would be sought for the purpose of transit of relief materials.
The simplified transit procedure would be applicable for six months with the option of being further extended for a period as mutually agreed between the governments of India and Nepal, according to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.
The Indian government received requests from international relief organisations and governments of some countries for facilitating movement of supplies to Nepal for the people affected by the earthquake, said the Indian embassy, adding that the Indian government examined these requests and decided that in order to enable expeditious and smooth clearance of the relief supplies for onward movement to Nepal, a simplified procedure of transit clearance would be put in place by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) under India's finance ministry.
Accordingly, CBEC India has notified a "Simplified Transit Procedure" for transit of relief cargo to Nepal, when supplied by foreign governments and multi-lateral relief agencies such as UNWFP and the Red Cross.
"This simplified procedure would be applicable to goods of international relief agencies/governments as duly authorised by the government of Nepal or its embassy/consulate in India. The donor government or agency has been given the option of themselves filing the simplified declaration of transit in case they do not opt to engage the customs broker," said the statement.
While, according to the India-Nepal Treaty of Transit, the transit of cargo to Nepal is allowed only through Kolkata/Haldia ports, transit of relief cargo has been additionally allowed transit by the Indian government through airports in Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Kolkata and Bagdogra.
Similarly, cargo in containers can be trans-shipped to Nepal from the Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in Delhi and Kanpur. These additional facilities have been made available by the Indian government to facilitate movement of supplies urgently needed by the people affected by the earthquake.
Additionally, CBEC has allowed advance filing of customs transit declaration (CTD) and also instructed customs officers for clearance beyond the designated hours of business.
The simplified procedure would be applicable to goods destined to Nepal via the land customs stations at Raxaul, Jogbani, Sunauli, Panitanki and Nepalgunj Road, the Indian embassy here said.