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Valley to face shortage of clothes this Dashain


KATHMANDU: Kathmandu Valley may face shortage of clothes and footwear this Dashain, as chances of resuming vehicle operation on Jure-Bahrabise section of Araniko Highway, which has been destroyed by landslide, in near future remains uncertain.Dashain, the biggest festival in Nepal, which is celebrated by donning new clothes and preparing delicacies, begins on September 25 this year. The shopping generally begins about two weeks before Dashain.

However, the government is not sure when the highway destroyed nine days ago will be reopened, as one kilometre of the segment has been severely damaged, while another kilometre is submerged in water.

The government is now mulling over opening another access road from opposite the Arniko Highway by mobilising Nepali Army. But according to Devendra Karki, director general of the Department of Roads, ‘it would take at least one month to open the track’.

This means the new track would open by September 10 at the earliest.

Considering the government’s previous track record of not completing work on time, it would not surprise many if the road is not opened by the pledged date. And if the government really defaults on its track-opening promise, the Valley will face shortage of clothes and footwear, as around 90 per cent of these come from China and arrive here via Arniko Highway — the only motorable road that links the country with the northern neighbour.

“Normally, 50 per cent of the goods for festival should have arrived in Kathmandu by now,” said Mohan Ojha, operator of Mamabhanja Suppliers, a clothes wholesaler, at Wotu, New Road. “Since there is no sign of roadblock being cleared, it is likely that the market will have nothing for the festival.”

But even if the track is opened on the pledged date, importers of Chinese goods are likely to face problems as there would be heavy traffic on the road, which would affect vehicle movement.

Since the Arniko Highway was blocked, cargo trucks have already started piling up at Tatopani, the nearest town from Nepal-China border. “Many trucks have also been stranded on the way. And there is no way we can bring goods loaded in the trucks even if we pay more,” said Govinda Sapkota, another wholesaler of Chinese clothes, who supplies 70 per cent of his imports to places like Dharan, Birtamode, Itahari and Hetauda.

Traders like Sapkota, who supply goods to places outside the Valley, are under another pressure: to meet the demand of retailers across the country.

“We had to start dispatching consignments to retailers outside the Valley by August 26. But since goods have not arrived here, we may face problems in meeting their demand,” Sapkota said.

Similar view was shared by Kamala Pradhan, operator of Valley Readymade Store at Mahadevsthan, who sells women’s wear to places like Itahari, Dharan and Birtamode.

As there is no sign of the highway being cleared anytime soon, many traders have stopped placing new orders with Chinese suppliers.

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point
Information for Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point