19 trucks carrying boulders from Bhutan have reached Bangladesh this week and builders have heaved a sigh of relief.
Bhutan stopped boulder exports when it’s officials found trucks were carrying 35 tonnes but were officially declaring only 15 tonnes on paper.
Now the loopholes have been plugged with issue of interim guidelines for surface collection and dredging of riverbed materials by the Bhutan cabinet.
The department of forests and park services are now authorised to issue permits based on the number of wheels of the vehicles.
With the weighbridge fixed, trade department will issue a certificate of origin based on the weight slip. The certificate is a document required for export to a third country.
Concerned departments have been asked to enforce load carrying capacity limit for trucks.
Though the gate for export opened on June 21, none of the trucks left Gelegphu. One of the Bhutanese business groups asked exporters to withhold until the price floor with importers is finalized. They proposed to raise the price floor to 25 dollars per MT from 18 dollars now.
The trucks that left for Bangladesh on Sunday were the one with balance Letter of Credit (LC) with importers. Exporters were told not to get a new Letter of credit at the existing rate.
“Exporters within this country, are asking to make the LC above 15 dollars, but as of now 18 dollars per MT are being practised. So we continue with that and if you can raise price floor, it is much better for both exporter and nation as a whole,” said Dorji Wangchuk, a Bhutanese boulder exporter in Gelegphu.
The Natural Resources Development Corporation in Gelegphu normally sells 30 truckloads of boulders to exporters every day.
The two month stoppage has caused a loss of 1 billion ngultrums (same rate as Indian rupee), the value for 6000 truckloads.