Nepali shoppers making beeline at Indian market

DHANGADHI: The Indian town of Gauriphanta across the Nepal-India border adjoining the Kailali district is teeming with Nepali shoppers, notwithstanding the undeclared border blockade imposed by India.

The blockade has created a shortage of cooking oil, spices, sugar, lentils and other essentials in the Nepali markets as Dhangadhi and Attariya, which has spurred the exodus of shoppers to the Indian market during the festival time.

Apart from the shortage, the prices of essentials have gone up in the Nepali markets.

"Ninety-nine percent of the customers in Gauriphanta are Nepalis," said Krishna Gupta, a local cloth merchant in Gauriphanta.

Gupta said although there is the border blockade, the age-old relations between the people of the two countries has not seen any let up. He added that the border blockade is a political issue between Kathmandu and New Delhi and it should be resolved by the governments of both countries.

"However, the customers from faraway places in Nepal in the far-western region who used to come to Gauriphanta for shopping have not been able to come here due to the difficulty with transport given the less number of vehicles plying owing to the acute fuel shortage in Nepal, " he added.

The staff at the Indian customs who often used to harass the Nepali shoppers while crossing the border into Nepal, however, have not resorted to this kind of treatment this time during the festival time, shared Kapil Bhatta of Kailali who was returning home after shopping in Gauriphanta.

Likewise, more than one thousand Nepalis daily go to another Indian market Bangaon for shopping these days, according to local traders. Bangaon is close to Gauriphanta.