Millions lost due to strike at Tatopani

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 17:

The strike called by the Maoists at Tatopani, now in its second week, has cost the nation millions. Maoists have put a stop to all work at the Tatopani customs where 40 trucks carrying goods worth Rs 100 million, used to pass through everyday. According to government and industry sources, the Maoists are demanding part of the customs revenues being collected. Sources said that Maoists have demanded Rs 30,000 per truck for goods being imported to Nepal through Tatopani customs point, next to the China border. Durga Shrestha, president of Nepal Himalayan Trans-Border Trade Association (NHTBTA), commenting about the closure of Tatopani customs, expressed worries about the halt in trade due to the strike. Talking about the possibility of resolving the problem, he said, "The government has to take the initiative as millions of rupees are being lost in revenues."

Akhil Chapagain, president of Nepal Foreign Trade Association (NFTA), has urged an immediate solution to the problem being faced by the importers at Tatopani customs point. Government officials, on conditions of anonymity, said that they have been facing difficulties to resolve the problem at Tatopani customs. Despite a meeting on the Tatopani customs having been held in Kathmandu today, nothing concrete has come out, says government officials.