Bad Indian road hits importersDilapidated state of the Indian highway connecting Nepal’s major customs point of Birjung has hit Nepali importers hard.
Dilapidated state of the Indian highway connecting Nepal’s major customs point of Birjung has hit Nepali importers hard.
Operating heavy vehicles on the Raxaul-Patna road in India’s Bihar state, one of the major import routes for Nepal, is very difficult, according to importers. “Poor road condition has led to frequent traffic jams,” said Ashok Vaidya, former president of Birjung Chamber of Commerce and Industries. “As 65 percent of Nepal-India trade is done through this route, maintenance of this road is essential.”
Although a section of the road in Raxaul was recently repaired, the traders said it was not sufficient to solve the problem.
The traders said the Bihar government had reportedly awarded the road repair contract some seven years ago. “The Indian government should take action against the contractor,” Vaidya said. “International highways aren’t just related to a single country. In our case, the bad Indian road is impacting our foreign trade.”
While the 27km Motihari-Semara section of the road is tolerable, the 30km Semara-Raxaul section is almost unusable, according to Birjung Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Pradeep Kumar Kedia.
“It’s not that the maintenance work is not being done, but the pace of work is very slow,” he said.
Due to the sorry state of the road, drivers of cargo vehicles from the Kolkata port and other Indian cities are reluctant to travel along the road to Birgunj. “A number vehicles have met with accidents,” said Om Prakash Sharma, senior vice president of Birjung Chamber of Commerce and Industries said. “Even if they agree, they charge very high.”
On top of high transportation costs, goods being transported also get damaged due to excessive potholes on the road, according to Sharma.