SINDHUPALCHOWK, Dec 6: Nepal's vital trade route in the north, Tatopani Customs Point, is likely to open in May. Nepal is working hand-in-hand with China to fix all the infrastructures that were destroyed during the devastating earthquakes of 2015.
The closure of the border point has put the country's annual transaction of Rs 20 billion at stake.
For the operation of the trade route, 26 kilometers of Araniko Highway is being repaired speedily. The road section between Barhabise and Tatopani was the most affected by the earthquakes. Both the governments have given special attention to this vital road section. Also, the areas affected by floods too have been cleared. Besides the quakes, floods in the Bhotekoshi River had left the zone vulnerable.
"Chinese laborers have been repairing the road from Liping in Tibet up to Barhabise. The work is going on speedily," said Rajkumar Poudel, chairperson of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality, who has been inspecting the project there. "Right now, the Chinese laborers are busy fixing the areas swept away by the floods and are also repairing the road," he added.
Meanwhile, the widening of the Friendship Bridge is also taking place. The eight meters wide bridge is going to be widened to 10 meters. According to Poudel, China itself is very much eager to bring this border point in operation.
"China is working dedicatedly in upgrading and fixing all necessary infrastructures for the operation of the border point. We are planning to get it ready by May," said Poudel.
Chinese officials asked for laborers' security
Chinese officials have asked the Government of Nepal to ensure proper security for Chinese laborers.
Officials of Nelam district of China and Sindhupalchowk had a joint meeting at Khasa, Tibet last week in this regard. During the meeting, the Chinese officials had reiterated that the border point is likely to be opened in May.
"After the meeting, we are hopeful that the border point will be opened soon. It is likely to open in May," said Krishna Prasad Adhikari, CDO of Sindhupalchowk district. "In the meeting, they also asked for safety and security of the Chinese laborers."