India, Nepal conduit may not see respite due to protests: Envoy

Kathmandu: Raxaul-Birgunj, the busiest transit route between Nepal and India, may not see any respite soon due to demonstrations by Madhes-based parties, said Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for Nepal’s right for free transit.

Ambassador Ranjit Rae said here that the Raxaul-Birgunj might not see any respite anytime soon because of continued demonstrations by Madhes-based parties.

Raxaul-Birgunj is the busiest conduit between Nepal and India.

Efforts are being made to reroute the cargo, freights, and fuel tankers so that they can enter Nepal through other border points, Rae told journalists late Tuesday. He also dismissed suggestions that supplies from the Indian border would ease soon.

“Whether it is perception or reality, people in Madhes are agitating,” he said.

Rae said the protests and agitation in the Terai region have changed their form and the situation has become more complicated after the unfortunate incident in Birgunj last week in which an Indian national was killed.

“But we hope that talks will take place and results will come,” he said.

Expressing concern over free movement of goods, cargo, fuel and other essential supplies, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has underlined Nepal’s right for free transit.

In a statement, the spokesperson of the UN secretary general said in New York that Ban reiterates his concern over the obstruction of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border.

Acute shortages in fuel supplies continue to impede planned deliveries to earthquake-affected villages in Nepal, he said.

“Humanitarian organisations urgently require fuel to maintain operations and deliver food, warm clothing and shelter materials to high altitude areas that will soon be cut off by harsh winter conditions,” he said.

Ban also underlined Nepal’s right of free transit, as a landlocked nation as well as for humanitarian reasons, and called on all sides to lift the obstructions without further delay, said the statement.

Nepal is facing huge shortage of fuel, medicine and other essential supplies since the past two months as the Madhes-centric parties of Nepal held demonstrations at the Nepal-India border.