Movement of passenger vehicles between India and Nepal along the Panitanki-Kakarvitta route has resumed on Friday after a gap of 20 months.
The development has come as a major relief for around 1,200 traders who are based in Panitanki, located around 35km from here. Their business had taken a hit after the movement of people through the international border was suspended following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year.
During this period, only vehicles carrying goods were allowed to move through the border.
A few weeks back, the traders had hit the streets and demonstrated on Asian Highway II, demanding the resumption of the movement of people along the route.
“We are glad that the authorities of both the countries have reopened the border for movement of passenger vehicles ahead of the Diwali celebrations. Only those who have received both doses of vaccines or carrying a negative RTPCR test report issued not more than 48 hours of their travel are being allowed to cross the border. Even then, we believe, this will largely help in the revival of business in Panitanki,” said Ramkumar Chhetri, an adviser of Panitanki Byabsayee Samiti.
According to the traders, around 50,000 residents of Nepal enter India through Panitanki every day and among them around 30,000 visit the local market to buy items ranging from household goods and garments to food items and furniture.
“Ahead of the pandemic, goods worth around Rs 1 crore were sold from the local market in Panitanki. This had dried up as the movement of people was stopped,” Chhetri added.
A senior trader based in Panitanki said they too, did not want an unrestrained movement of people through the border. “But now that only people who are fully vaccinated or are carrying negative RTPCR reports are being allowed, it is evident that all those entering through the border would be screened. In such a case, movement of local transport should be allowed,” he said.
Source : Telegraph India