Boulder export from Gelephu to Bangladesh resumes

After almost a month of halt, export of boulder to Bangladesh has resumed from Gelephu starting yesterday. 

The Department of Forest and Park Service (DoFPS) has started issuing export permit as per the interim guidelines for surface collection and dredging of Riverbed materials (RBM) for export, 2019 which was approved by the cabinet last month end. The guidelines came into force from June 4. 

With inability to determine the actual weight without a weighbridge, DoFPS had followed the directives where permits were issued based on the number of wheels of the vehicle. The weight is calculated based on the cubic feet as practiced by the department for other purposes to determine vehicles’ consignment weight. Currently, 1 cubic meter is considered as 1.8 Metric Ton (MT). So six wheelers carry 8MT and the weight comes around 14.4MT. Similarly, weight for ten wheelers comes around 28.8MT.

The permit issued by the DoFPS is considered valid at the check points. The guidelines will be followed until the weighbridge is repaired. The weighbridge at Gelephu is expected to be ready before June 20. Experts from Guwahati in India will reach Gelephu by June 17 and start the repairing works.  

However, export of stone aggregates has already started earlier this week. The official at DoFPS said uniform rules are applied for the export of both the boulders and stone aggregates. But until yesterday no trucks with boulders have approached the office for export permit.

The DoFPS has also revised the export permit fee from Nu 10 to Nu 20 from June 4.  Also, the department has revised service charges for export permit. It ranges from Nu 300 to Nu 650 depending upon the vehicles. They charge Nu 300 for six wheelers and Nu 450 for ten wheelers.

The monitoring of heavy vehicles movements started from May 17 when carrying capacity rule on the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) was implemented. DoFPS had since then stopped issuing export permit in absence of a weighbridge that is used to verify the weight on the vehicles.

The trucks are still loaded with the boulders at the Mao River ready to be exported. The dredging works have also resumed and are continuing along the river. Around 10 dredging companies are working along the Mao River with stone crusher machines at the sites.

Krishna Ghalley from Gelephu