Tourism entrepreneurs stage sit-in at Belhiya demanding full opening of border

Local News

Bhairahawa, 21 February: Tourism entrepreneurs in Bhairahawa staged a sit-in at Belhiya, the border point between Nepal and India, demanding that the border should be fully opened.

The government had decided to open the Nepal India border at Belhiya on Jan 19 which was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, traders are agitated as the border has not yet been fully opened. 

Even though the government has said that the Belhiya border has opened, the traders argue that due to difficult procedures tourism is still non-existent.

The tourism dependant border had its economy reduced to shambles due to the border shutdown. Tourism-related businesspersons have said that since the threat posed by COVID-19 has been reduced and international air travel has resumed it is time that the government opens land borders as a majority of tourists come via land borders.

Tourism-related businesses and associations on Wednesday conducted a sit-in protest for half an hour and lighted candles today demanding the borders be open.

Siddharta Hotel Association Nepal, Society of Travel and Tours, Hotel and Restaurant businesses, Siddhartha Chamber of commerce and Industries, Organisation of Industries and Commerce of Rupandehi, Transport Entrepreneurs took out a candle light march demanding the border be open.

According to the chairperson of the Organisation of Industries and Commerce of Rupandehi, Narayan Prasad Bhandari, the protests will continue for a week.

Since the threat posed by the pandemic has reduced and since people have been receiving vaccines, it is time that the border is opened completely,” said Bhandari.

The Chief District Officer of Rupandehi, Pitambar Ghimire, said that only those who have been following health protocols have been allowed to enter. “The border has not been opened yet, only those who follow the health protocols have been allowed to enter,” he added.

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