KATHMANDU, Sept 18: More than a thousands of Nepal-bound cargo trucks have remained stuck at the Nepal-China borders as the Chinese authorities are reluctant to allow cargo movement via the land routes.
Both Nepal-China border points of Rasuwagadhi-Kerung and Tatopani-Khasa have remained closed since late January to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan of Hubei Province of China in late 2019. Over the period, these trade points were opened only for a few days allowing the movement of a limited number of cargo trucks carrying medical kits in particular.
An official of Singati Hydropower Project said that their imported equipment has been stuck in Kerung for the last eight months. “The construction work of the project has been halted while the cost also seems to soar up heavily,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Traders have been demanding that the government authorities take initiatives to hold talks with the Chinese government regarding the matter. According to Nepal National Entrepreneurs Federation, more than 1,000 trucks loaded with imported goods have remained stuck in Kerung alone.
Officials at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies said the northern neighbor paid no response despite repeated requests for reopening these border points. Citing the spike in coronavirus cases in Nepal along with weak mechanisms to tackle the pandemic, the Chinese authorities have been avoiding the issue of reopening the borders any time soon, according to the officials.
When China permitted the one-way cross- border movement through the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung transit point for a few days in July, only a limited number of cargo trucks were allowed to leave for Nepal, on the condition of adopting stringent safety measures.
According to traders, the cargo trucks have been carrying mainly construction equipment, electronic devices and Dashain-targeted goods.