Prime Minister KP Oli, during his first tenure, had refused to visit New Delhi as long as the Indian Blockade of Nepal continued. In fact, Oli went to India only in February 2016 after New Delhi stopped backing Madhesi parties who were obstructing the border checkpoints.
Two years later, Oli is Prime Minister again, and is off to India again this weekend. But he seems to be oblivious of another blockade that has brought cross-border trade through Bhairawa to a standstill for months.
About three kilometers down the Sunauli (India)-Belahiya border (Nepal), there is an Indian check post that has made it difficult for Nepal-bound cargo to pass through despite attempts by the envoys of the two countries to solve the problem.
Nepali trucks and containers carrying raw materials have found it increasingly difficult to pass through the check-point, and there is a long queue of trucks, sometimes as long as 20km, waiting for clearance to cross over.
Some drivers spend up to 7 days in the queue, paying a daily detention charge of Rs 2,500. Truckers often get abused, harassed or even beaten up by Indian police for complaining.
“Some truckers easily cross the border by bribing Indian police, but most get stuck for about a week,” says Kul Prasad Neupane, President of Siddharthnagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.