Tatopani border point comes into operationCustoms office says import of goods will begin from Thursday.
Tatopani border point, a major customs point along the Nepal-China border, has come into operation from Wednesday. An isolation area has also been established in the border area amid fear of Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Lal Bahadur Khatri, chief at Tatopani Dry Port and Customs Office, movement along the border point has resumed in accordance with the new border modality between the two countries.
“The border was opened and closed several times due to various reasons. We have adopted a new modality to resolve all possible problems that could lead to border closure again,” said Khatri.
Authorities from both the countries have set up isolation areas, health desks, quarantine facilities and other health security measures at the border point to control the possible spread of Covid-19 during the cross border movement.
Around three kilometres stretch from Liping to Miteri Bridge, a motorable bridge that links Nepal and China, has been designated as an isolation yard. A quarantine facility has been set up in the area to accommodate Nepali employees working at the border point. The area has been marked with a red mark for Chinese officials and employees and a yellow mark for Nepali workers within the gap of five metres.
A group of five high-level Chinese officials, including customs officials and security officers, inspected the isolation yard on Wednesday. According to the customs office, the Chinese officials who arrived at the Tatopani border point in two vehicles from Lhasa took detailed information while importing and exporting goods across the border.
Khatri said the Chinese officials were satisfied with the modality adopted to control the spread of the virus through the border point.
The Chinese authority had urged Nepal to manage high health security measures to curb the outbreak of Covid-19 through cross border activities.
“All necessary preparations have been completed on Wednesday. Goods will be imported through containers to Nepal as per the new health security modality from Thursday. A few containers loaded with goods are across the bridge on the Chinese side now,” said Khatri. According to him, a group of 20 employees have been deployed in the isolation yard after conducting their Polymerase Chain Reaction tests.
Security has been heightened in the Tatopani area. No one can cross the border without official permission. Keshav Kumar Shrestha, inspector at Tatopani Border Outpost of the Armed Police Force, said that only authorised personnel can enter the isolation area. “All authorised personnel should wear personal protective equipment, face masks and gloves,” he added.
Two gates have also been set up at Miteri Bridge and the isolation yard.
Tatopani border point was reopened on October 5 after three months of closure. The Chinese authority had closed the border point the day after three Nepali workers tested positive for Covid-19.
With the decision to reopen the border point, local people have expressed concern about the possible transmission of Covid-19 that first spread from Wuhan, China. They have urged the people’s representatives, the district administration office, customs office and security agencies to adopt health security measures to control the virus transmission.
“To open the border point with high security in place is our request to the concerned authorities. The authorities should also consider the health of the people,” said Raj Kumar Paudel, chairman of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality. Tatopani border point lies at Ward No 2 of the local unit.