The alternative track dug by businessmen on Araniko Highway to resume China trade is ready. The track will be operational in a week, according to people involved in the construction.
The track digging works began on August 16 following a massive landslide at Jure, Rache-5 of Sindhupalchowk on August 2. The landslide killed 156 people and simultaneously blocked the Sunkoshi River forming a dam that is still posing threat downstream.
“We operated five dozers every day to dig the 3 km long track,” says Bishnu Khatri, coordinator of the track construction committee, while talking with Nepalnews on Wednesday.
“We will be able to resume transportation services in the track in a week.”
Initially, Rs 6 million costs were estimated in the construction that began from Kalleri of Jure. But the expenses will be more than Rs 10 million at the end, Khatri says.
A few days ago, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat visited the site and assured that the government would incur all the expenses involved in the track opening works, he adds.
Apart from the track dug by businessmen, Nepal Army, too, is working on opening up yet another alternative track. The works on the track, which will be 11 km long, began on August 12.
The NA’s track, however, will take time to come into operation and big containers cannot be plied on them, claim the businessmen.
The Jure landslide swept away around 1.5 km of Araniko Highway and the damming of Sunkoshi River has inundated around 1.5 km of the Highway. In this way, around 3 km road section of the Highway remains non-operational.
As Nepal operates its export-import trade with China through the Araniko Highway, the blockage has brought all types of cross-border businesses to a halt.
Around 500 goods carrying containers are stranded on both sides of Tatopani customs points, while 500 more containers are yet to be on-loaded with goods.
A container carries goods worth Rs 10.5 million, say the businessmen.
From Tatopani, Nepal’s Department of Customs has the target of collecting Rs 25 million to 30 million revenues every day and around Rs 700 revenues in total until the end of Dashain.
The Department collected Rs 6 billion revenue from this customs point last year.