September 12: Businessmen of Sindhupalchok Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nepal Trans Himalayan Border Commerce Association (NTHBCA) have submitted a memorandum to Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Narayan Khadka, requesting the government to reopen the Tatopani border. They submitted the memorandum on Sunday asking the government to open the border in order to facilitate in creating a favourable environment for conducting business.
Minister Khadka assured the businessmen while receiving the memo that efforts are being made to open the Tatopani border immediately. He informed that talks are being held with the Chinese authorities to operate the border without any hassles. He also expressed his commitment that the issue of reopening the border will be given priority during the meeting with the Chinese side as well.
Foreign Minister Khadka expressed hope of positive outcome in easing supply of goods before Dashain. He said that chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Congress, Li Zhanshu will arrive in Nepal on Monday and pay a courtesy call on Tuesday.
“Discussions are underway to resume import and export with China through the border points. We have been requesting the Chinese side to reopen the border as soon as possible. I will give special emphasis on the opening of the Tatopani border during the courtesy meeting with Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Congress, who is visiting Nepal,” said Minister Khadka.
On the occasion, Nepali Congress leader and former minister Mohan Basnet said that it is not appropriate to shut the border while blaming the rise in Covid-19 infection. He said that the government should take initiative to open the border as soon as possible so that there is no shortage of consumable goods during the upcoming festivals.
Recalling that the local residents up to 32 kilometers away from the border crossing had the facility of exemption of customs tax for personal use items before the earthquake, Basnet urged Foreign Minister Khadka to negotiate with the Chinese side to avail the same facility again.
After submitting the memorandum, Ashok Kumar Shrestha, president of NTHBCA, said that they are facing problems in the market management as the Dashain festival is just around the corner while the e border has not reopened fully. He urged the government to take the initiative to open the border as soon as possible since some traders are abandoning their business as they cannot afford the cost because of the delay in arrival of goods from China.
During the meeting, President of Sindhupalchok Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hom Bahadur Basnet also emphasized that Tatopani border point should be operated without any hassles. He said that around 200 freight vehicles used to enter the country daily when the checkpoint was operating smoothly. But now, not even 10 of them are allowed entry. He complained that it is very challenging to do business in such situation.