KATHMANDU, Aug 7: The main opposition Nepali Congress registered a proposal of urgent public importance at the House of Representatives on Wednesday seeking the government's initiative to ease the export of medicinal herbs to India and other countries via India.
NC lawmaker Rangmati Shahi registered the proposal at the House on Wednesday, which was seconded by NC chief whip Balkrishna Khand, and two other NC lawmakers Dila Sangraula Panta and Prakash Rasaili.
NC's proposal of urgent public importance has come at a time when tens of thousands of metric tons of medicinal herbs are stuck in godowns across the country due to restrictions imposed by India at the border points.
“Nepal’s hills and mountains are rich in herbal products. Many people have been directly involved in collecting, processing, and selling of herbal products. Among important exporting commodities, herbal products hold a vital position," read the proposal.
NC chief whip Balkrisha Khad told Republica Online that Nepal currently lacks required labs for quarantine checks for herbal products at the border points.
"At the same time, India has enforced a restrictive policy on Nepali herbal products which has seriously affected the export of medicinal herbs to India and other countries via India," he said.
Khad drew the attention of the government to ease the export of herbal products to India and foreign countries via India as early as possible.
As many as 2.4 million farmers of the hills and the mountains rely on running herbal businesses. India used to import more than 80 types of medicinal herbs from Nepal in the past. However, with the introduction of the new policy, the export of medicinal herbs from Nepal has come to a halt.
Since March this year, the southern neighbor has been strictly enforcing its prohibition of the importing of medicinal herbs from Nepal, and this has badly affected local businesses.
The Indian government has stopped the import of herbal products from Nepal stating that the Nepal government could not verify the scientific names of the herbs, which is a must as per the new quarantine policy enforced by the Indian government earlier this year.