Saturday, September 26, 2015

Government concerned over Indian blockade

Nepal has officially showed concern over 'India-imposed blockade' since last four days that has made the lives of Nepalis hard.
Foreign Ministry today – releasing a press note – said that the government is concerned over 'undue delay on the movement and clearance of cargo vehicles resulting in significant decrease in the flow of essential goods to Nepal from India via different border checkpoints for last few days.'
"It decreased flow has been noted particularly since September 23, whereas the security situation in Tarai has remained the same for more than a month and now has been improving gradually,” the ministry said in a statement.
Minister for Health and Population Khaga Raj Adhikari – who is officiating foreign
minister in an absence of foreign minister Mahendra Pandey – during his meeting with ambassador of India to Nepal at the Foreign Ministry in Singha Durbar yesterday, had informed about the fact and requested for necessary cooperation from Indian government for early release of cargo vehicles stuck at border checkpoints on the Indian side, according to the ministry.
A handful of vehicles – with perishable goods – were allowed to enter Nepal through Mechi and Dhangadhi check point. "Due to the blockade, Nepalis have begun to feel shortage of daily supplies on the eve of festive season,” the ministry said, further adding that as many as 29 cargo vehicles carrying perishable goods had managed to enter Nepal yesterday and the day before through Bhairahawa checkpoint.
The ministry also informed that 17 cargo vehicles, including three with petroleum products, through Mechi checkpoint and 25 cargo vehicles, including 20 with petroleum products, through Dhangadhi check point could enter Nepal, today.
"The situation of supply, however, has not improved ever since," it said, adding, "Not a single cargo vehicle could enter Nepal through Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Krishnanagar and Nepalgunj checkpoints until 5 pm today."
India has – showing its displeasure over promulgation of constitution through Constituent Assembly (CA) on September 20 – blocked cargo vehicles, including petroleum products, despite agreement to supply petroleum products to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the sole supplier of petroleum products to Nepal. India sent a 7-point recommendation to add in the constitution, which Nepali leaders rejected. The Indian bureaucracy has taken the issue as its prestige issue and entered into ego-war with a tiny landlocked neighbour Nepal.
"Hundreds of vehicles carrying petroleum products and other essential goods are awaiting clearance to enter Nepal on the Indian side of the border,” the statement added, “Tankers have not been filled up with petroleum products."
Large number of vehicles have not been allowed to enter the Indian side and due to which people in Nepali side have begun to feel shortage of daily supplies on the eve of festive season, the statement further read. "Given the friendly relations existing between the two countries, Nepal sincerely hopes that the India will take all necessary steps at the earliest to ensure uninterrupted entry of vehicles carrying essential supplies, including petroleum products, to Nepal as before. It also reiterated that there would not be any problem inside the Nepali territory for the transport vehicles and their personnel since arrangements are already in place for their security.
Though not permitting transit right to a landlocked country like Nepal is a breach of freedom of transit rights of landlocked countries. If India continues to impose embargo on Nepal, Nepal can lodge complaints in the multilateral trade mechanism as it is the right of landlocked country. The transit and free supply of consumables is Nepal’s right and India should facilitate it without any hindrance, according to the multilateral and bilateral agreement.

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