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India blocks Nepal trade route

Written by  Published in Asia Thursday, 01 October 2015 13:46
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Kathamndu,October 1 (CNS)----Nepal, a landlocked country that heavily depends on border trade with India for supplies, is facing severe shortages in essential supplies including petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation fuel, and cooking gas.


Border crossings between Nepal and India have essentially been closed due to what the Nepali government is calling a blockade by the Indian government. India, however, denies the blockade and argues that the disruption in border trade is due to “unrest, protests and demonstrations” in Nepal following the promulgation of a new constitution on September 20.
In order to address the shortages, the Nepali government is only allowing people to drive on alternate days and has asked people to use charcoal and firewood for cooking. Efforts are also underway to reopen trading routes with China, which were blocked by landslides after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25.
Anti-India protests also erupted in the capital, Kathmandu, which demonstrators accused the country of meddling in Nepal’s internal affairs and of imposing this economic blockade as a result of India’s alleged unhappiness with the new constitution.
The Nepal Oil Corporation announced on Tuesday that it would stop allowing international flights to refuel in Kathmandu's airport, leading some international carriers to start cancelling flights to Nepal.Demonstrators say new state borders leave their communities under represented as unrest grows over constitution.undreds of protesters have blocked a major trading checkpoint between India and Nepal, cutting off vital supplies to the landlocked Himalayan nation as anger deepened over the country's new constitution.
The protesters, who belong to the Madhesi community, said  that they were angry about plans to divide the country into seven federal provinces under the charter adopted last Sunday.
"We blocked the crossing overnight and we will not budge until the government listens to us and makes changes to these new borders in the constitution," said Shiva Patel, general secretary of the regional Sadbhawana party.
More than 40 people have died in weeks of clashes between police and protesters from the Madhesi and Tharu communities, ethnic minorities who say the new internal borders leave them under-represented in the national parliament.
The blocked checkpoint in Birgunj town, 90km south of the capital, serves as the key hub for oil and food imports into Nepal.
"Normally hundreds of trucks would pass through this checkpoint overnight but not even one turned up last night," Patel told .
"The blockade is our last resort to make the government understand our demands," he said.
Fears of a fuel shortage has seen dozens of commuters line up at gas stations in Kathmandu while the ongoing protests have sparked concern in India, which has traditionally exerted significant political influence in Nepal.

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