Trade through Tatopani unlikely to resume soon

  • China mulls over new transit point
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Chinese side is planning to set up immigration, customs and quarantine offices in Nyalam, which is five kilometres from Khasa

Dec 14, 2015-The Chinese authorities are considering developing Nyalam apass as an alternative to Khasa for setting up immigration, customs and quarantine offices, knowledgeable Nepali government officials say.

After the April 25 earthquake destroyed the Khasa Bazaar, the Chinese town across Tatopani Bazaar in Sindhupalchok, the Chinese authorities immediately relocated the entire settlements to Shigatse from Khasa. 

Since the relocation, the Chinese side has been reluctant to resume trade through Khasa-Tatopani border due to lack of operational infrastructure such as customs, immigration and quarantine on their side. 

With the Chinese side in its initial stage to set up immigration,  customs and quarantine offices in Nyalam, completion of which could take months, it is unlikely that trade between Nepal  and China through Tatopani-Khasa would open anytime soon.

 The Chinese side, however, is yet to officially communicate to the government of Nepal about its decision to develop Nyalam pass as an alternative to Khasa. 

Nyalam, situated at an altitude of 5,000 metres from the sea level, is five kilometres from Khasa. The old trading route of Nepal, which is called Kuti, lies on other side of Nyalam. 

  A team comprising representatives of various Chinese agencies inspected the locality in Nyalam last month and has already submitted a report to the Chinese government, according to Nepali officials.

Once the Chinese side decides to set up its border offices in Nyalam, then a short road will be constructed to Nepal-China Friendship Bridge that will be linked with the Araniko Highway. 

“Once the Chinese side decides to install immigration, quarantine and customs offices on its side, the process of widening the Araniko Highway will begin,” said the officials.

China has pledged Rs 31 billion to upgrade and widen the Araniko Highway.

During his scheduled visit to China, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, the Nepali and Chinese sides are likely to hold discussions about opening more routes and upgrading infrastructure on the Nepali side.

DPM Thapa is planning to visit China during the last week of December. A date is yet to be officially confirmed.

Published: 14-12-2015 08:32

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