STC's 2500 tons sugar at dry port for five months

Kathmandu, Feb. 4: About 2,500 tons of sugar imported by the Salt Trading Corporation (STC), a public enterprise, has got stuck at a dry port for the last five months.

According to Urmila Shrestha, chief executive officer at the STC, 2,454 tons of sugar imported by the Corporation from India is yet to be released from the dry port.

The sugar has been stuck at the port since the government imposed quota system in September 2018.

She said that the recent cabinet meeting directed the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies to send a letter to the port asking the latter to release the sugar.

"We have imported 2,500 tons of sugar worth Rs. 130 million from India for Dashain, Tihar and Chhat festivals of 2018.  But, it got stuck at the port owing to the quota system introduced by the government," she said.

She asked the concerned authorities to pay due attention to release the sugar at the earliest as the STC depots were about to run out of sugar.  

She said the sugar could damage if it was kept in the go-down for a long time.

"We are shocked by the act of the dry port and the government to hold the sugar for such a long time. The corporation had opened the Letter of Credit (LC) to import the sugar before the cabinet took the decision to impose the quota system. Yes, it is true that the arrival of the sugar at the port was delayed even though it was dispatched in time from India due to traffic congestion and other technical problems," she said.

She said that the Corporation was facing additional burden as it had to pay the rent of the port go-down.  

"Price of sugar will increase further once the sugar stock at STC depots runs out," she said.

The Corporation is now selling sugar at Rs. 68 per kg, but the market price of sugar is higher than the Corporation's selling price.

According to spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Nabaraj Dhakal, the ministry has already sent a letter to the STC and the concerned dry port for the release of the sugar.

Dhakal expressed his hope that the dry port would release the sugar by completing the procedures at the earliest.

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