Indian imports to Nepal have risen in price after the government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) decided to tighten the rules regarding overloaded transport vehicles. Since India became strict regarding the policies pertaining overloaded transport vehicles, the prices of construction materials have gone up tremendously.
UP’s new chief minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed cases of overloading thoroughly and thus introduced this new policy to reduce overloading on transport vehicles on April 1. With the introduction of this new policy, overloaded transport vehicles that were let off with minor fees previously have now been restricted to travel.
This policy has created havoc for Nepali construction companies, as there is now a shortage of raw materials. This has ultimately led to an increase in prices for construction materials like cement, rods, marbles, tiles, hardware, etc. The price of cement has risen by 15 percent and rods by 10 percent, according to industrialists.
Although goods are transported from India in trains to Birgunj, all other Western ports import goods from India in trucks. These trucks have to travel long distances of more than 150km and the limitations on their weight have caused the transport costs to rise immensely.
“Previously, a truck used to bring 32 tons, but now it can only bring 14,” said Rabi Ranajan, Brij Cement’s manager in Bhairahawa, “The overloading limitations have created lapses in supply, so the production of our company has also gone down.” For the companies importing raw construction materials from the Lumbini corridor, the transport price of each ton of cement clinker was Rs800, but now it has gone up to Rs1,300. Transport prices of other raw materials like Gympsum have also significantly increased.
Previously, 4 thousand tons of cement clinkers required 90 trucks for its transport. After the new policy was introduced, 215 trucks are required to transport the same mass of cement clinkers. “Since so many trucks are needed, there is now a shortage of trucks in India too,” said Ranjan, “Price hike of cement in India itself has contributed to the increase in price here.”
The price of each sack of PPC cement in Nepal has increased from Rs630 to Rs660 and the price of each sack of OPC cement has risen from Rs740 to Rs780. Industrialists claim that the supply has dropped by almost 50%, due to the unavailability of raw materials from India.
In the Lumbini corridor, 4 tons of cement clinkers were imported every day but now it takes 3 days to import the same. The price of each metric ton of clinkers has risen from Rs7,000 to Rs11,000.
The policy to restrict overloading has also increased the price of rice by around Rs4 per kg.