Birgunj border opens after five months

Birgunj, February 5

Birgunj entry point at the Nepal-India border, which had remained closed for more than 135 days due to agitation of the United Democratic Madhesi Front, opened from today.

The border point, which was shut since September 24, opened today with the initiative of local entrepreneurs of both the Nepali and Indian sides.

They opened the border after removing the tents and barriers fixed by demonstrators, who had staged a sit-in at Miteri bridge at the Birgunj-Raxaul entry point.

Although UDMF cadres reached the border point to resume the protest, they failed due to the strong defiance of local entrepreneurs, traders, suppliers and some Indians, who had opened the long obstructed border.

Earlier, the protesters had started moving away from the sit-in venue.

“A group of children, women and traders from the Indian side had arrived at the entry point at around noon and opened the border,” said some eye witnesses. They took away the bamboo poles and tents to the Indian side.

Following the incident, a group of UDMF cadres led by Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leader Jitendra Sonal reached the bridge area and chanted slogans against removal of the tents, but in vain.

Security has been beefed up in the area after the border reopened.

A group of UDMF leaders and Federal Socialist Forum Nepal Parsa Chairman Pradeep Yadav, among others, reached the bridge area and chanted slogans demanding the blockade at the border point.

However, people from the Indian side told the UMDF cadres to impose border obstruction at other entry points as well if they wanted to impose blockade at the Birgunj-Raxaul border.

They also chanted slogans against the border blockade.

Birgunj Customs Office spokesperson Sushil Sharma said goods entered through the border point after the obstruction on Miteri Bridge was removed. “Smooth supply of goods in trucks and containers resumed from across the border after the removal of obstruction today.

According to him, as many as 50 trucks and containers, 40 tractors, one dumper and one cargo vehicle brought goods without any obstruction today.

With the number of sit-in protesters declining of late, the remaining agitators had been thrashed by local traders and entrepreneurs from time to time.

UDMF cadres had been imposing the border blockade along the Birgunj-Raxaul border point though they had threatened to impose blockade at four more entry points, protesting the new constitution and delineation of federal structures.

UDMF cadres have imposed a bandh in Rautahat district headquarters Gaur from today. The front has announced indefinite bazaar closure in Rautahat.

They brought the bazaar, business houses and transportation to a grinding halt from early morning today.