Tatopani-based traders building alternate route

- Rishiram Paudyal, Barabise (Sindhupalchok)
Tatopani-based traders building alternate route

Aug 18, 2014-

Tatopani-based traders have started building a 2-km-long track linking Kalleri to the Araniko Highway as the road to Tibet remains blocked two weeks after a landslide buried part of it.  

Kathmandu-bound goods have been piling up at the Nepal-China border, and traders are frantic with the festive buying season approaching. July-September is peak season for Nepali traders as they import goods worth billions for Dashain and Tihar.

The merchants have complained that the government has not paid any attention to their demand to immediately build an alternative road as their losses have been mounting. Transportation of goods imported from China through Tatopani Customs came to a complete halt after a massive mudslide on August 2 buried part of the highway and dammed up the Sunkoshi River inundating surrounding areas.

Since then, traders have been rushing the government to build a bypass track. However, they said that the government had not done anything to build a road as the area was still covered in water.

The entrepreneurs have started digging a track by using excavators and bulldozers and claimed that they would open an alternative road within 10 days. The landslide took out a 2.5-km section of the Araniko Highway.

A committee has been formed under Bishnu Bahadur Khatry, former central committee member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to open the track. Khatry said that the track was progressing at the rate of 200 metres daily.

According to him, hundreds of loaded container trucks are stuck on the highway, at Tatopani Customs and in Khasa across the border in China. “If the goods are not transported before Dashain, traders will have to suffer mammoth losses.”

Meanwhile, the Nepal Army has opened an alternative track, but traders said that it was no good for trucks. The Tekanpur-Sunkoshi route has been open for the last five days.

After imports and exports came to a standstill due to the landslide, revenue collection at Tatopani Customs has dropped to almost nil. According to the customs office, it had targeted collecting revenues amounting to more than Rs 20 million daily during this season.

Published: 19-08-2014 09:41

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