Thousands of cargo trucks headed for Nepal have been stranded at the Nepal-China borders because the Chinese government is hesitant to let merchandise to travel through land routes.

Since late January, the Nepal-China border crossings at Rasuwagadhi-Kerung and Tatopani-Khasa have been blocked to avoid the potential spread of the coronavirus, which was originally discovered in late 2019 in Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China. These commerce hubs were only accessible for a short time during that time, enabling just a few cargo trucks carrying medical supplies to pass through.

According to a representative of the Singati Hydropower Project, imported equipment has been stranded in Kerung for the last eight months. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “the project’s construction work has been suspended while the cost also appears to be significantly rising.”

The government must take the initiative to initiate discussions with the Chinese government, according to the traders’ demands. The Nepal National Entrepreneurs Federation reports that more than a thousand trucks carrying imported products are still stranded in Kerung alone.

Officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies said that despite repeated requests for the northern neighbor to restore these border crossings, they received no answer. The Chinese authorities have reportedly avoided the topic of opening the borders any time soon, citing the rise in coronavirus infections in Nepal as well as inadequate procedures to combat the epidemic, according to the officials.

Only a small number of cargo trucks were allowed to depart for Nepal when China temporarily authorized one-way cross-border travel at the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung transit point in July, subject to the adoption of strict safety measures.

According to merchants, the cargo trucks have mostly been transporting electronics, building supplies, and products for Dashain.

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