October 3: Hoteliers and tourism entrepreneurs in the border areas are excited following the cross-border movement of private vehicles between Nepal and India almost after a year and a half. The traffic movement has become easier for the locals after the government removed the restriction of vehicular movement.
The Indian border was reopened on Friday, after being closed for more than a year on March 26, 2020, to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even after the daily life returned to normal, the ban on vehicular movement remained in force making the situation uncomfortable for tourism entrepreneurs in border areas. This affected hotels and tourism businesses that were opened targeting Indian customers.
Chairman of the Hotel and Tourism Entrepreneurs Association Birgunj Hari Pant said that the resumption of vehicular movement has brought relief to the tourism entrepreneurs.
Despite the decision of the Council of Ministers to open the border on September 20, the vehicles only started arriving on Friday due to procedural delays. The decision of the Council of Ministers could not be implemented after the Ministry of Home Affairs and Finance delayed sending the circular to the local bodies.
The letter to open the checkpoint had reached the local administration and customs after the businessmen repeatedly raised the issue. Harihar Poudel, Chief Customs Officer of Birgunj Customs, said that the Indian passenger vehicles were allowed to enter the country after the Ministry of Home Affairs and Finance sent a letter to allow the entry of Indian vehicles following the required criteria.
In Birgunj, hoteliers and tourism entrepreneurs had been taking the initiative to open traffic at the checkpoint. The decision was taken after a team of businessmen met Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and requested him to open the checkpoint.
Chief of the Birgunj Metropolitan City, Vijay Kumar Sarawgi, has claimed that the hotel and tourism business in the border area will revive now as private vehicles have been allowed entry into the country.