Rasuwagadhi jammed as traders reroute shipments

- KRISHNA THAPA, Rasuwa

Aug 25, 2014-

Congestion at Rasuwagadhi Customs has increased tremendously after importers began rerouting their shipments from China through here as the usual way through Tatopani Customs has been cut off by a landslide on the Araniko Highway.

The road from Kathmandu to Tatopani is still inoperational three weeks after the mudslide buried part of it at Sindhupalchok and dammed up the Sunkoshi River flooding adjacent areas. With the festive shopping season approaching, anxious traders have turned to Rasuwagadhi on the Nepal-China border which lies directly to the north of Kathmandu.

Moreover, a three-day Rasuwa banda held to protest the removal of the chief of the Chilime Hydropower Project Kulman Ghising by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) added to the log jam at the customs office.

Currently, around two dozen containers loaded with Chinese goods are arriving at Rasuwagadhi on a daily basis, according to traders. Previously, the customs office used to be largely deserted during the rainy season.

Man Bahadur Tamang, president of the Nepal China Kyirong Business Association, said that traders were increasingly using the Rasuwagadhi-Kyirong route to import goods.

According to him, the 72 containers that were stuck in Kyirong, Tibet during the banda have started arriving at the district. Items like apples, readymade garments and blankets, among others, are imported from China. Products like chilly, beaten rice and flour are exported over this route.

Bhim Paudel, one of the hotel operators here, said that around 60-70 traders visit Rasuwagadhi daily to obtain information about the condition of the road for importing goods.

“Goods that were exported to China through Sindhupalchok are being diverted through this route,” he said.

A trader in Sindhupalchok said they were forced to use alternative routes after the usual way through Tatopani was obstructed. “We have come to this customs point even though we will be suffering a loss while importing products through this route,” he added.

Suraj Shrestha, an exporter from Nuwakot, complained that they were facing difficulties delivering goods to Chinese importers on time due to the obstruction of the Tatopani route. “Our credibility is at stake,” he said.

The customs office in Rasuwagadhi too is not in fine shape. While China has constructed a fine customs building on its side of the border, Nepal has been using an age-old structure which too has been causing inconvenience.

Published: 26-08-2014 09:41

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