July 12: The 'India-Nepal Summit-2022' has concluded in Vaishali of Bihar state in India, endorsing an 18-point demand letter related to Nepal-India economic and social relations.
The leaders of the two countries who attended the conference on Saturday pledged to take initiative with their respective governments to address these demands. The demand letter covers issues related to tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, transportation, communication and social relations.
The participants of the summit demanded that the citizens of both the countries should be allowed to open a bank accounts and get a mobile SIM card on the basis of proof of citizenship or government identity. The demand letter argues that this will facilitate business, tourism, religious and social relations.
Initiatives will be taken to remove the limit imposed on tourists carrying Indian currency while entering Nepal from India. Carrying more than 100 rupee denominations of Indian currency and more than IRs 25,000 in cash is banned in Nepal.
Tourists entering Nepal have been facing problems due to lack of this information. Police have arrested and remanded Indians in custody for carrying Indian currency in excess of the prescribed limit.
Stakeholders demand a ban on this provision arguing that the movement of Indian tourists to Nepal has become troublesome due to this. As an alternative, it has been suggested to make the use of ATM cards easier.
Participants of the summit also agreed to draw the attention of the concerned bodies regarding the unauthorized collection of tax by the local level on Indian vehicles entering Nepal with tourists. The demand letter mentions that the tourists entering Nepal from India have been unnecessarily harassed due to such problems.
It has been demanded that the entry of private vehicles with Indian number plates should be made easier and the entrance fee should be reduced. At present, the border authorities charge a daily fee of Rs 500 for private vehicles with Indian number plates entering Nepal.
The issue of promoting religious and tourism potential by linking Kathmandu and Someshwarnath Dham in Bihar, India was also raised during the summit.
The bordering Indian cities of Raxaul and Muzaffarpur have demanded immediate operation of airport for exploring industrial and commercial potential. Raxaul has also demanded the operation of an express-way train to the Indian capital Delhi.
Due to the shortage of fertilizer in Nepal during planting season, stakeholders demanded that the lengthy procedures should be shortened in the border areas to resolve such problems.
Demands have been made from time to time for interaction between the armed security forces deployed along the Nepal-India border. The security forces have been accused of mistreating the locals, media persons and businessmen in the bordering areas due to lack of coordination among the two sides.
Speaking at an interaction on 'Indo-Nepal Relations, Challenges and Diagnosis in Changing Circumstances' organized by Media for Border Harmony, leader Jitendra Sonal said that people's representatives and concerned organizations should launch a joint campaign to take the relations between the two countries on the path of mutual benefit and prosperity.
Sonal claimed that although the social, religious and cultural relations between the citizens of both Nepal and India were good, the mentality of 'Kathmandu and Delhi' was not positive.