Road Woes: Tatopani Crossing’s Operation Hinders Drivers, Businesses, and Economic Prosperity
Even though the Tatopani trade route between Nepal and China has been put into operation, the poor condition of the road has significantly increased the risk of accidents. The Tatopani crossing, which had been closed for an extended period, became operational on May 1st last year. However, the road from Bahrabise to the border in Nepal is in a deplorable state, preventing Nepali businessmen from safely transporting essential materials due to the heightened risk of accidents. In recent times, due to the road’s deteriorating condition, businessmen have halted the importation of goods through the Tatopani crossing.
Businessmen have expressed their dissatisfaction, citing the inadequate road quality and the considerable time required to transport goods via the Tatopani crossing. Consequently, they have resorted to importing goods through alternative crossings. The lack of road upgrades and expansion continually subjects businessmen to suffering each year. Moreover, the Tatopani area is prone to natural disasters, exacerbating the road’s deterioration during the rainy season.
Despite being a crucial trading point connecting Nepal and China, Tatopani perennially grapples with road issues. The primary road linking Tatopani and the trade border with China frequently faces challenges such as flooding and landslides. Businessmen have voiced their concerns regarding the government’s neglect in repairing the road that connects to Tatopani. The government’s inability to maintain the road from Bahrabise to the Tatopani crossing in Sindhupalchok over the long term perpetuates the constant risk associated with vehicular travel in the area.
The road connecting the Tatopani crossing poses an elevated risk, primarily due to its proximity to the Bhotekoshi river, which flows between two mountains. The trade port nature of the area further exacerbates the situation, as it lacks the necessary conditions for smooth movement of large containers carrying goods. Consequently, the road is plagued by a significant risk of accidents. Regrettably, the government has thus far been unable to identify a long-term solution to address this persistent issue by upgrading the road.
Businessmen importing goods from China through the Tatopani border have voiced their complaints about the lack of maintenance on the main road leading to the border. Damodar Satyal, a businessman interviewed by News Agency Nepal, expressed difficulties in transporting a 40-foot container to Kathmandu due to the poor road conditions. According to him, the government has failed to improve the road infrastructure connecting the significant commercial Tatopani crossing with China.
Satyal emphasized that an enhanced road infrastructure would facilitate smooth operations at the checkpoint. He pointed out that the dilapidated roads result in increased prices for goods imported from China once they reach Kathmandu. Despite receiving some government support, businessmen continue to face problems because the road conditions remain unchanged.
Bijay Sherpa, another businessman, highlighted the dangers of the 24-kilometer road from Bahrbise to Tatopani naka. The road poses challenges for the movement of large containers carrying goods, creating difficulties for transportation. Sherpa expressed frustration that despite requests from the local municipality and businessmen, relevant agencies have yet to take steps to improve the road. He emphasized that improving the road connecting the Tatopani crossing would benefit both locals and businessmen.
Pemba Chiring Tamang, a container driver on the Tatopani road, described the discomfort of driving containers along the route. He mentioned that the road’s small and narrow size leaves no room for passing when containers are approaching from both directions. Tamang also highlighted the risk of containers occasionally hitting the hillsides.
Despite an increase in traffic on the road due to the full operation of the Tatopani crossing, the road’s condition remains dire. The roads in various sections of Kodari Lokmarg suffer damage each year due to floods and landslides during the rainy season. It is crucial for the government to devise a long-term plan and address the road problems to ensure the smooth operation of the road section connecting the Tatopani border from Bahrabise to the border.