November 20: The government has not officially lifted a ban on cross-border movement which was imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, the movement of people across the border through Birgunj transit point clearly shows that the ban is not being implemented effectively.
Hundreds of people travel to and fro across the friendship bridge between in between BIrgunj and Raxaul. Security personnel deployed at the border area have not been able to stop the flow of people.
The government had decided on September 11 to seal the international borders till November 15 but is yet to announce lifting of the ban.
So far the government has opened 11 transit points through which people can enter or leave the country by fulfilling certain conditions. The government is silent about the cross-border movement after November 15.
Chief District Officer of Parsa Asman Tamang insists that the decision to allow entry of people by fulfilling government-approved conditions is still in force.
“We have sought suggestions from the home ministry regarding effective management of cross-border movement,” said CDO Tamang, adding, “There will be a new provision to regulate corss-border movement immediately after the Chhath festival.”
The government has set a criteria to allow the entry of its citizens from India in case of emergency or medical treatment and for workers involved in the industries and construction projects. Only those who fulfill the criteria are allowed to enter the country.
There has been an increase in flow of people across the border after India unilaterally opened its border on October 22.
Security personnel have not been able to regulate the movement of people across the border. They say that their attempt to stop the people from traveling across the border often results in confrontations.
The Birgunj border is closed only on papers, causing trouble to both the law enforcement agencies and the public.
Although the movement of people across the border has increased, Mayor of Birgunj Bijay Kumar Sarawagi says they have not allowed private and passenger vehicles to enter or leave the country through the border point.
“People often travel to the border point on vehicles and the get off to cross the border. This has resulted in more crowd in the border area,” he said.
The uncontrolled movement of people has in fact affected those who travel due to emergency, said Sarawagi.
The mayor is of the view that the border should be opened after setting a certain practical criteria for cross-border movement.
CDO Tamang says that a lot of people have been visiting Raxaul of India for purchase during the festive season. He reiterated that the uncontrolled movement of people will soon be regulated after the Chhath festival.