KATHMANDU, July 6: The Rasuwagadhi border point that remains shut for about five months is set to resume its operation from today.
Chief of Rasuwa Customs Office, Punya Bikram Khadka said four trucks will be allowed to operate in the beginning and the number will be continuously increased as the service improves. “The goods had arrived at the border point before the lockdown but because of the discontinuation of the service, they were kept on halt at the border point,” he said.
A total of 120 tons of goods are expected to enter Nepal on the first day. The border point was sealed in January following the threat of COVID-19 spread in Nepal. Out of many goods imported from China, fruits, readymade goods, electronic gadgets, equipment required by telecom and hydropower projects are among the prominently imported ones. “The goods will enter Nepal according to their turns,” Khadka said.
Hydropower projects and construction of airports have been impacted due to the supply halt of materials and equipment in Nepal.
The Nepali side has submitted the details of 15 drivers and 15 laborers who will be handling the goods and transport them to Nepal. All the laborers and drivers engaged in the process will take care of their works at their designated locations and will work without direct contact. “They will maintain their distance when handling the goods,” he told Republica Online, “The Chinese side will bring the goods and unload them and the Nepali side will take care of the remaining tasks till it reaches Nepal.”
The drivers and laborers who are assigned to take care of the work will have to stay in quarantine. According to Khadka, two hotels, one each for drivers and laborers have been managed for quarantine facilities. “They will be allowed to go back to work after quarantine only if they pass the health examination test,” he added.
The customs office at Rasuwa has had discussions with security personnel regarding the safety protocols they will follow after it comes into operation to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nepal. “All staffers and people involved in the import-export business will have to follow safety protocols,” he further added.
The Rasuwagadhi border point that officially came into use from 2015, registers more than 250 vehicles carrying goods for import and export on a daily basis. The numbers of trade and traders and cargo trucks passing by had largely increased in Rasuwagadhi after China officially declared this border point as one of its international borders. The Kerung Valley of Tibet is just 24 kilometers away from this border point. Although the border was closed in January, traders from Kerung were still using this border to travel back and forth until February.