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Tatopani-Nyalam border point reconstruction completes

Sindhupalchok, March 9, 2017: Although reconstruction work at Tatopani in Nepal and Nyalam in China has been completed, there is no sign of resumption of trade via the route.

Construction of roads damaged by 2015 earthquakes on either side of the border has been completed. Nepal has also completed construction of basic infrastructure for trade, according to Antar Bahadur Silwal, chief district officer of Sindhupalchok.

These infrastructure were built as per the recommendation of a high-level team from Nepal which visited the bordering Chinese town to study the infrastructure needed to resume trade with the northern neighbour.

The Tatopani area is gradually returning to normalcy after the maintenance of 26km Barhabise-Tatopani road that completed in January. Local residents are returning to the town and are rebuilding houses and shops.

China has also completed the construction of customs, immigration and quarantine offices at Nyalam.

Nepal has time and again urged China to work to reopen the border at the possible earliest, while the Chinese government has also repeatedly pledged to do so. However, nothing has happened, and trade between the two countries through this border crossing continues to remain halted. According to Silwal, China might be expecting some sort of assurance from the Nepal side regarding border security before resuming trade. “Chinese officials repeatedly urge Nepali authorities to step up security and surveillance at the border during meetings held to resume trade,” said Silwal.

Business activity at this Nepal-China border town in Sindhupalchok has come to a halt after the earthquakes damaged property and infrastructure. Sindhupalchok was one of the worst earthquake-hit districts. The district is still recovering from the disaster.

But recovery was particularly hard for Tatopani locals when the region faced another devastation caused by the Bhotekoshi River flood in July 2016.

While the Tatopani border remains closed, traders have been facing difficulties in transporting goods through the Rasuwagadhi border point due to poor road infrastructure.

By Anish Tiwari