Flood fallout: India opens office to help move Nepali goods

September 23rd, 2008 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 23 (IANS) The Indian government Tuesday moved to make amends for the disaster triggered by the Kosi river in southern Nepal and its adjoining Bihar state in India by opening an office in the Terai plains to facilitate the movement of Nepali vehicles and goods.The East-West Highway that connects landlocked Nepal with India and is its lifeline, being the key route for transporting essential supplies, including food grain and fuel, to capital city Kathmandu, was damaged by the flood waters. It threw transport out of gear.

With over 100 km of the highway out of service, vehicles trying to enter had to return to Nepal and follow a different route through Indian cities to circumvent the obstacle.

Nepali transporters had urged Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav to take up the case with the Indian authorities during his visit to India so that they would be allowed easier movement through Indian towns.

On Tuesday, Yadav inaugurated an Indian camp office in Biratnagar town in south Nepal that was opened to facilitate the movement of Nepali goods and vehicles to India and from the eastern region of Nepal to its central and the western regions.

“The office has been opened in response to an urgent request by the Government of Nepal, reiterated during the recent visit of the prime minister of Nepal to India, to address the difficulties being faced by Nepalese in obtaining necessary permits after the Kosi floods damaged the East-West highway,” said a statement issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu Tuesday.

The joint press statement issued during the visit of Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” to India incorporates the agreement of the two countries to open the office to facilitate movement of Nepali vehicular traffic through India for improved access to other parts of Nepal.

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