Iran has 4,000 cross-border porters
Tehran, Iran, February 21
By Mehdi Sepahvand –- Trend:
There are 4,000 people in Iran as cross-border porters, carrying goods on their backs from the other side of the border into the country.
Only 10 of the 4,000 people are insured, but the government has started to organize them by issuing them import permits, Assadi, director of Tamarchin Border Market at Piranshahr, West Azerbaijan Province told ILNA news agency February 21.
People living near borders to the east and west of Iran have been growingly resorting to smuggling to earn a living as a result of poor economic development in their areas. The government used to recognize them as smugglers, but they have been increasingly considered as Iranian citizens in need of a job.
The porters have been growing in number, with many economic and social aftermaths. About one month ago a few of them were overrun by avalanche and died in mountains in western Iran.
According to Assadi, the government has taken measures to organize the porters by issuing them permits and also launching border markets where they could sell the goods they take home.
The government has also listed 64 goods as free to import for the porters. The list shrinks or grows around the year according to situations, the official said.
The porters each carry loads as heavy as 200 kilograms on their backs for tens of kilometers over mountains from the other side of the border into the country.
According to Assadi, each day 700 to 1,000 of the porters travel via the Tamarchin border.
The official further explained about the import permits by saying the porters have to pay taxes for them. The taxes paid will be split between the governorate and border police station, he said.