A controlled Indian blockade on Nepal (BBC report)

(Translation of a report by senior journalist Anil Yadav, first published in BBC Hindi. You can read the original report here. A Nepali translation of the report is available on the BBC Nepali website.)

Translated by nepalforeignaffairs.com team.

Indian government has been saying, even stressing continuously that it has not imposed any blockade on Nepal. But Nepal is suffering due to lack of cooking gas, petrol, medicines and other items of daily need.

Just visiting the border town of Sunauli (Sonauli) is enough to expose the carefully drafted statements of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

On the Indian side of the Sunauli border between Nepal and India, trucks have queued for more than 14 kilometers (Picture: Manoj Singh/BBC)

What kind of neighbors are you? No sooner had we made our constitution than you started to demand an amendment? – Nepali people

In reality this is a controlled blockade, whose remote controller rests at the hands of someone higher up. On the ground here, many games are being played out in that pretext.

Minister Swaraj told the parliament that trucks leaving India have been stopped by Nepal’s Madhesi protesters.

[Related article: Debunking Dr. Karan Singh’s Misinformed Comments on #Nepal at Indian Rajya Sabha]

Although there’s no protest in Sunauli, only a fixed number trucks are allowed to pass every two-three days. The trucks with Nepal’s imports are lined up for more than 14 kilometres on the Indian side and reach much further than the town of Nautanwa. However, buses and other vehicles are passing the border from both sides as usual.

So why are the trucks stopped? To this and every other question, the officers from customs and border security force (SSB) respond that all is because of orders from above.

Whose orders from higher up? They respond to this question with such a laughter, which means- “are you so innocent as to not know what even a five-year-old kid in Nepal knows?”

Cross the border and ask the same question on the Nepali side. It elicits a stunning question, “what kind of neighbors are you?”, as if this journalist is representing the Indian government.

Then they say, “no sooner had we made our constitution, than you started to demand an amendment. When we refused, why did you stop our bread and butter?”

Custom officials claim that these days about 100 trucks are allowed to pass after inspection. But there are several details that go into determining the trucks that will be allowed to enter Nepal.

In Kolhui and Nautanhwa of the Maharajgunj district on the Indian side, LPG (cooking gas) trucks of Nepali and Indian oil corporations have been separated from the long queue of trucks and parked on nearby fields.

LPG tankers taken out of the queue and parked on nearby fields in Nautanhwa (Picture Manoj Singh/BBC)

Trucks carrying medicines are prioritized and allowed to pass, but police stop trucks carrying petrol, diesel and cooking gas. Trucks carrying marble stones, cars and bikes are also being allowed to pass.

The biggest difficulty Nepal is facing is of fuel. And those who come to enjoy the spectacle of trucks queuing on the highway also admit that India wants to bring Nepal down to its knees by shutting down fuel and transportation.

Truck drivers say, police take bribes to select and allow trucks from among the long queue that has been standing for two months. The rates are INR 300 for normal trucks, 500 for big trucks, and more for containers. This is because the importing company in Nepal faces a loss of about INR 13,000 for every additional day a container is standing on the queue.

Is is estimated that goods worth INR 20 billion are queued up on the Indian side on the road of Sunauli border and Nautanhwa railway station.

People in Nepal queuing up for cooking gas (Picture: Bharat Bandhu Thapa/BBC)

There are attempts to unload goods from the trucks to smaller vehicles and carts in order to take them across the border.

Nepal’s businesses and factories are cancelling their orders because no-one knows when the blockade will end.

When asked about corruption, the police reply that the accusations are unsubstantiated.

The police say, “Our officers are getting calls from ministers and big politicians in the state of UP and the center. They ask us to allow trucks belonging to certain industrialists. When we allow such trucks to get out of the queue and pass because of our officers’ orders, we face these accusations.”



18 responses to “A controlled Indian blockade on Nepal (BBC report)”

  1. sb Avatar

    yes, this is true,Indian government is stopping earthquake destructed nepalese fuel,medicines in the name of madhesi agitation.what kind of humanity,neighbourhood is this??All the global world know this cruel game of india.

    1. rajeesh Avatar

      your own people blocking the trucks and why the hell u are yelling at india.. imaine you are so dependent on India for such a long time and blaming today coz food to fuel dont reach u… so in humane bro..

  2. Mazo Avatar

    If you think this is a deliberate action by India then you should have realized the consequences BEFORE promulgating your Constitution about the consequences of your actions. Even if India allows one truck every month – it cannot be called a blockade and India would be legally fulfilling its obligation to Nepal. And this is just the “least” of the trouble India can do to Nepal if it wants to. Why dont all the Nepali nationalists go and ask the Chinese for fuel from china ? What happened to China being “best friends” of Nepal ?

    As an Indian I have no sympathy with the Nepali people anymore and I am not alone. Most Indians seeing the recent disgusting behavior of Nepalis be it the anti-India hashtags during earthquake relief or now find no sympathy for Nepal and have stopped caring. PM Modi has also realized that dealing with Nepal with kindness is useless and Bahadurs need to treated with the stick so they don’t forget reality of the relationship between India and Nepal.

    1. Sunil shakya Avatar
      Sunil shakya

      You fucking Mazo. Nepal does not take anything for free .you kill our children and you will pay a price for it. We are brave and that is why we have a tag of Bahadurs not like you Indians who were literally fucked by British and Moghuls. We are honest and our goods that come from Indian transit must be allowed as per the treaties you have signed in WTO and Safta.

      1. rajeesh Avatar

        dude. this is politically created tension, why are you abusing.. We all have lot of nepali friends / collegues.. Madhesis are creating tension and targeting indian gov. A bangladeshi wont get the same privilege in india that a nepali gets. With out any big dependency on Nepal if India is trying to keep the friendship why are you trying to break the ties.

    2. H Orse Man Avatar

      Have seen a few of these paid articles. Poorly written. At least dont contradict yourself.

      First he cites guards blocking trucks due to orders from higher ups.
      Then he says for a bribe those trucks can move
      And then he says local politicians are asking for trucks to be allowed to go (and police let them go)

      So the net is – there is a blockade due to higher ups ordering it, but you can pay bribe to get through and/or local/other politicians are able to unblock the blockade and get trucks across.

      what kind of funny blockade is this?

    3. sandio Avatar

      how inhuman u n ur govt is proved by this…. by making starve to death millions of ppl a large democratic country refuse to accept promulgation of constitution driven by democratic provess.Modi adocate democracy n make tour to the world as if he is only 1 in the world.but he is nothing more than
      a hypocratic n poor minded sensless ppl.dnt we knw hw his act killed 1000s of ppl in relihious riot.hw a beef eating being killed.. hw BJP MP openly thteatened to behead a person eating animal…. modi dnt addressed own prbl lyk Sikh andolan naksal maoist gorkhaland… kasmir…. N Modi suggested Nepal to amend our constitution…. He dnt deserve morally to say anything.. this is nt first time india blocked Nepal… a good neighbour who hav long relation with Nepal.. u ignored.. N u wish to die us.. as our man guard ur country in kasmir frm outsider.. 1000 of ppl die for ur country in every war u stepped to fight wheather it is with China pakistan other country….. after earthquake ur nation brought army with media. ur helicopter is used to lift media not mainly to rescue.. we knw hw rajip gandi suppot Tamil tigers in Sirlanka.. we knw hw india blocked Lpg to Bhutan.we knw hw girls being raped in ur country.we knw u… we r slave to no1. even ur nation being slaved by british.we fought till to death.. bt we dnt surrender.. u r being slaved 100s of year.in depression u trying to rule us.we r nt bhutan sirlanka. ur country blocked 1.5 yrs in 27 yrs ago.we didnt surrender. n this time ur modi is playing dividing role as it played in sirlanka… we r nt like u…

      1. rajeesh Avatar

        Dear Sandio

        If you don’t understand things don’t say we know you , we know you… India thankful to Nepal for its brave fighters, India is Thankful to nepal for the brotherhood. But India cannot behead Madhesis and bring Food and Fuel to you. the trucks with amenities are waiting 14km long border areas. While madhesis are clubing them with Indian gov, don’t be fooled for issues created inside Nepal. Nepal was is and always be culturally geographically and in all means India’s friend. Dont get over emotional and get ur views wrong..

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  5. Upendra Gautam Avatar
    Upendra Gautam

    Perhaps it is the BBC Hindi Service which has for the first time tried to verify the information and the Indian government position on the trade blockade that India has imposed on Nepal. Other international news and broadcasting agencies have not been doing justice to Nepal by not very factually reporting the situation on Nepal-India border. Nepali people will remain thankful to BBC for their such independent news coverage.

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