Kathmandu, November 15
The flow of vehicles laden with essential goods, fuel and industrial raw materials from India to Nepal through border points where there aren’t any disturbances has started to increase. However, the major trade route — Raxaul-Birgunj — is still being blocked by the protesters dissatisfied with the new constitution.
According to the data obtained from the various customs points, Indian customs has started dispatching more trucks, containers and tankers as compared to the previous days.
A normal flow of vehicles was witnessed in Bhairahawa (Nepal)-Sunauli (India) border point. Over 300 vehicles were dispatched to Nepal from Sunauli customs point till today evening, according to Keshab Oli, officer of the Bhairahawa customs office. Bhairahawa customs office further informed that 23 gas bullets and 34 diesel tankers entered Nepal on Sunday.
Likewise, 170 vehicles entered from Biratnagar. Reportedly, 20 diesel and six petrol tankers and four gas bullets entered Nepal through Biratnagar customs office. Krishna Basnet, chief customs officer of the Biratnagar customs office, said that the number of vehicles entering Nepal from India has started to increase since the last few days.
According to Nepalgunj customs office, 96 trucks, containers and fuel tankers entered Nepal from Rupedia today. Thirty-one out of the 96 vehicles were fuel tankers. Altogether, 24 diesel, three aviation turbine fuel, three petrol and one kerosene tankers entered Nepal through the Nepalgunj border.
The Mechi customs office of Kakadvitta has also informed that 72 vehicles laden with cargo and fuel entered
Nepal today. Two gas bullets entered Nepal from Kakadvitta, according to Nirman Bhattarai, officer of the Mechi customs office.
However, customs offices have said that there is no guarantee on the flow of vehicles laden with essential supplies to Nepal. “It depends on the discrepancy of the Indian customs. We have been repeatedly talking to them to send more trucks and containers as they have been stuck since long at the border points,” said Krishna Basnet, chief customs officer of the Biratnagar customs office.
The Indian side started dispatching only a handful of trucks, containers and fuel tankers to Nepal after the promulgation of the new constitution owing to the security concerns caused by the protest in the Tarai region of Nepal.
The country has been facing short supply of essential goods due to the disruptions in supply lines and Nepal’s Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa even spoke to the higher political level in India during his visit to Delhi in the third week of October. In the meeting, the Indian side had pledged to facilitate re-routing of trucks, containers and fuel tankers stranded at Raxaul (Birgunj) — the major trade point, which was blocked by protesters — to other customs points. However, that has not been implemented yet.
A version of this article appears in print on November 16, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.