KATHMANDU, Sept 10: The arrest of two people from Sirdibas of Chumanubri Rural Municipality-3, in northern Gorkha on Saturday for illegally possessing 10 kg gold has become the talk of the town in Gorkha. On one hand, the locals are surprised to know that Gorkha too is being used as a route for gold smuggling, while on the other hand, the administration and police officials from Gorkha have claimed that they already had doubts about such incidents taking place in Gorkha.
Saturday's incident marked the first incident of gold smuggling from China to Nepal via Gorkha. Since 10 kg of gold were found for the first time, people and authorities alike have suspected that many more cases of gold smuggling are still taking place in Gorkha right under the nose of the law enforcement agencies.
“We were suspicious about smuggling of gold from Tibet to Nepal via Gorkha,” Chief District Officer (CDO) of Gorkha Narayan Bhattarai said, adding, “Our suspicion has now proven to be true.” According to him, the district administration of Gorkha had started to make plans to trap gold smugglers four months ago.
Two months ago, the district security committee of Gorkha had made a proposal to the home ministry to add security check posts in the open border of Nepal-Tibet in Gorkha. But the home ministry has not shown any interest in addressing the proposal of the committee.
On the same day that the smugglers were caught, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa was in Gorkha to inaugurate the District Administration Office building. In a brief talk with the home minister, CDO Bhattarai had drawn the attention of the minster toward security issues related to Nepal-Tibet border in Gorkha. He said he requested the home minister to add Nepal Army check posts at Samagaun and Chekampar. In reply, the home minister reportedly said that it was not possible to set up two new check posts in a short span of time. He, however, promised that one check post will be added in the Nepal-Tibet border in Gorkha.
The Tibetan market can be reached in about two days when the locals cross the border through northern Gorkha. The district headquarters, however, is about five days walk from the northern villages of Gorkha. It is also very convenient for the villagers to travel to Tibet through the open border. Hence, the villagers prefer travelling to Tibet for buying their day-to-day goods.
The District Police Office, Gorkha has informed that the open border has made it difficult to track down smuggling along the border area. Chief of Gorkha Police SP Bimal Basnet said, “Since, the border is open, it is very difficult for us to tighten the security there.”
The arrested people in Saturday's incident have been identified as Mutup Lama, 58, and Lopchen Tenbe, 28, both from ward 7 of Chumanubri Rural Municipality. Chumanubri borders with Tibet of China and has open border policy for the locals.