Oct 16, 2015- The Rasuwagadhi-Kerung border point, which remained closed for the past six months following the April 25 earthquake, reopened on Thursday. The road leading to the border was severely damaged by the earthquake and monsoon rains.
It is one of the two major trade routes between Nepal and China, with the other being Tatopani-Khasa route. Officials from both countries participated in the reopening of the border point. Joint Secretary at the Commerce and Supply Ministry Jib Raj Koirala, representatives of Foreign, Finance and Home ministries, chief district officer of Rasuwa, border security force personnel and customs chief of Rasuwa attended the ceremony.
Deputy General Secretary of China on Tibet affairs, Chinese embassy counsellor, officials from Chinese customs, immigration and quarantine offices were also present. Officials of both countries insisted on operating the border points in a coordinated manner. On the occasion, China handed over half a dozen trucks laden with salt, rice and cooking oil worth Rs 16m for quake victims. The closure of the two major Nepal-China border points since the earthquake has adversely affected bilateral trade.
The Chinese side also held talks with Rasuwa’s Chief District Officer Shiva Ram Gelal and Customs chief Kedar Paneru to discuss on easing trade and removing barriers for smooth operation of the border point. “The border point has reopened for trade,” said Paneru. “Even petroleum products can be imported through this route if an agreement is made at the higher level.” Before bringing the border point into operation, China had cleared a huge mound of landslide debris on their side, about 10km from Rasuwagadhi.
Gelal said that the Chinese side has assured that they would coordinate with Nepal to ease export and import of goods. Deputy Superintendent of Police of the Armed Police Force Darsan Giri said that they arranged an APF unit to control revenue leakages. “We will stop smuggling of goods, provide border security and control other illegal activities,” he pledged.
The Immigration Office of Nepal has initiated works to ease cross-border movement. Officiating Immigration Chief Medani Sapkota said they distributed half a dozen of one-day passes to cross the border. Immigration chiefs of both countries said they would soon introduce four-day passes as well. Nepal’s quarantine office has also began its operation on Thursday. As the main trade route of Tatopani-Khasa remains closed, traders said that they now plan to import goods through Rasuwagadhi.
Published on: The Kathmandu Post (Oct 16,2015)