Transport of goods at high risk of accidents at Tatopani
Although the Tatopani trade route between Nepal and China has been put into operation, the poor condition of the road has increased the risk of accidents.
The Tatopani crossing, which has been closed for a long time, has been operational since mid-May. But since the condition of the road from Bahrabise to the border towards Nepal is miserable, Nepali businessmen have not been able to transport the necessary materials from Tatopani due to the risk of accidents.
Lately, due to the poor condition of the road, traders have stopped importing goods from Tatopani trade point. Businessmen complained that because the roads are not safe and it takes a long time to import goods in Nepal through Tatopani border, they import goods from other border areas.
Businessmen have to suffer every year due to the inability to upgrade and widen the road. The Tatopani region is also geographically at high risk of disasters, so the road is dilapidated with the onset of the rainy season. Although Tatopani is the main trading point of Nepal connecting Nepal-China, it is always affected by the problem of the road.
The main road connecting Tatopani, the trade border with China, is always collapsed due to problems such as floods and landslides. Businessmen have complained that the government has not given necessary attention to the repair of the road connecting Tatopani border road section. Since the government is unable to repair the road from Bahrabise to Tatopani crossing in Sindhupalchowk for a long time, there is always a need to drive vehicles at high risk.
The road connecting the Tatopani border is also more dangerous because of the banks of the Bhotekoshi river that flows between the two mountains. Due to the fact that it is a commercial border, there is a high risk of road accidents where large containers carrying goods cannot move easily, but so far the government has not been able to find an alternative solution to the long-term problem by upgrading the road. Businessmen who import goods from China through Tatopani border complain that due to lack of maintenance of the main road of the border, there is also a problem in transporting the goods.
Businessman Damodar Satyal said that it is difficult to bring a 40-foot container to Kathmandu because the road is dilapidated. He said that the government has failed to strengthen the road infrastructure connecting Tatopani, a major trading point with China. He said that only if the road infrastructure is strengthened, the operation of the checkpoint will be easy. He said that due to dilapidated roads, the price of goods imported from China increases when they reach Kathmandu. He complained that all the necessary facilities from the customs office were received from the government, but the roads are not in good condition, so there was always a problem.
Another businessman, Bijay Sherpa, said that the 24 km road from Bahrabise to Tatopani trade point is threatening. He said that there is a problem because large containers carrying goods are about to run on this road section. He expressed that even though the local municipality and businessmen have asked the concerned bodies to take initiatives to improve the road section, it has not been done yet. He said that if the government improves the level of the road connecting Tatopani trade point in time, it will be easy for the locals as well as the businessmen.
Similarly, Tatopani road section container drivers Pemba Tshering Tamang said that it is uncomfortable to drive shipping containers on Tatopani road, risking accidents. He said that since the road is small and narrow, there is no place to give a site when containers are heading from opposite sides. He also said that there is a risk of containers occasionally hitting the hills above the road.
When the Totapani crossing is fully operational, the traffic on the road will increase, but the condition of the road is miserable. Although the Tatopani border crossing is operating smoothly, there is a problem in the transportation of goods due to the poor and dilapidated condition of the road.
In various sections of Araniko Highway, roads are damaged every year due to floods and landslides during the rainy season. It seems necessary for the government to make a long-term plan and solve the road problem in order to organize the road section connecting Tatopani border crossing from Bahrabise to border crossing.