Tatopani-based traders start construction of alternative route

Tatopani-based traders start construction of alternative route

As the highway to trade with northern neighbour has been blocked since two weeks by a landslide, the traders have started construction of a two-km track – as an alternative – linking Kalleri to the Araniko Highway to reopen the trade before festivities. Trade from Tatopani – the customs on Nepal-China border – has been suffering from last two week as Kathmandu-bound imports have been stuck in the customs. Traders have imported goods for Dashain and Tihar – the season that consumes billions worth clothes and accessories – but the government apathy is likely to escalate price in the market during festivals due to short-supply. Hundreds of loaded container trucks are stuck on the highway at Tatopani Customs and also in Khasa across the Chinese border, according to former central committee member of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Bishnu Bahadur Khatry. The delay in transporting goods to Kathmandu before Dashain will hit traders, he said, adding that they have to suffer heavy losses. The halt in imports has also hit the government coffer as the revenue had dropped. The Tatopani customs office had targeted to  mobilise Rs 20 million revenues daily before Dashain. However, a massive mudslide buried part of Arniko Highway – the only highway for trade with China – and dammed up the Sunkoshi River inundating surrounding areas on August 2. As the government did not listen to the plea of traders to open alternative route, they have started construction of the track themselves. Planning to open the track in 10 days, they have started construction using excavators and bulldozers. The landslide damaged the 2.5-km section of the Araniko Highway. Meanwhile, an alternative track – Tekanpur-Sunkoshi route – opened by Nepal Army could not help smoothen transport of goods to Kathmandu The track is open since last five days.
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