New Delhi, An ‘indefinite road blockade’ by residents in Bihar’s Jogbani has brought trade between India and Nepal to a halt on the Jogbani Land Customs Station for the past 48 hours. Over 2,000 trucks, including oil and gas tankers, are stranded on either side of the Indo-Nepal border.
An SOS report dispatched to Union Finance Ministry said: “Non-movement of the import-export consignments on account of indefinite traffic blockade and closure of market” by the local people in border town of Jogbani in Araria district.
The report said import-export was affected since 6 a.m. on Tuesday, when the Jogbani Nagrik Manch started its complete “chakka jam” in the area.
“Following the closure of the Customs Station at Jogbani for the past two days, international trade with India has been brought to a halt. Besides mutual trade, Nepal also uses this route to transport goods imported from Kolkata and Vishakapatnam ports. Under a treaty, Nepal a landlocked country, is allowed to import its goods freely from the third country,” said a customs official.
“Nepal customs officials, based across in the border town of Biratnagar, have requested their Indian counterparts to break the deadlock so that movement of essential goods, oil and gas can resume,” the customs official added.
Another Land Customs Station on the Nepal-Bihar border is in Raxual, which is around 400 kms away from Jogbani.
Sources said for the past several months, local residents had been complaining about the pathetic condition of roads (and highways) in Jogbani, which have not been repaired for years.
When the Bihar government, particularly PWD officials, did not pay any heed to their demands, the residents called for an “indefinite road blockade”.
Meanwhile, alarmed by the rising number of stranded vehicles every hour, the Customs Department has requested the District Magistrate of Araria to intervene and negotiate with the local residents to call off the strike.
However, sources said that the agitated residents were demanding a written committment from the PWD Department to repair the roads on a priority basis and at the moment, did not appear in a mood to change their stance on the ongoing blockade.