East Nepal shares two northern borders with China- Kimathanka of Sankhuwasabha and Olangchunggola of Taplejung. And, recently elected parliaments of these two districts of province one say their priority is to open northern borders of their respective districts. 'My election pledge was to give utmost priority of Kimathanka border crossing with world's second largest economy of China', said Rajendra Gautam, the only federal parliamentarian of Sankhuwasabha district, 'this is the only border crossing with China with human settlements.'
The 376-kilometer-long Kimathanka- Biratnagar is East Nepal's ongoing mega road project connecting emerging Asian economic power India and world's apex economy China. 'We have functioning road from Biratnagar to Khadbari, the district headquarters of Sankhuwasabha, and the road track of 162-kilometer-long road section from Khadbari to Kimathanka is being constructed', said Gautam. He added, 'out of 162-kilometer-long road, we just have 40-kilometer-long track to open to reach Kimathanka.'
Gautam says his top priority for coming five years to work for speedy construction of this northern border crossing with China. 'This border will uplift living standard of traders, agriculturists and locals of this district', said Gautam speaking over phone for APD.
Like parliamentarian Gautam, another federal parliamentarian Yogesh Bhattarai of easternmost district Taplejung bordering China is also for opening northern border with China. 'Olangchunggola is the shorted international trade route of China and India via East Nepal', said Bhattarai, the secretary of Nepal's largest party named CPN-UML, 'I will be active in speedy construction of remaining road tract to connect China from district headquarters of Taplejung.' Out of 62-kilometer-long Fungling, the district headquarters of Taplejung and Olangchunggola, 37-kilometer-long road track is left to construct. Bhattarai said he will do everything he can on his capacity to fast track this construction.
'I have talked to the people of northern borders and also with rest of the district', said Bhattarai, 'all are for opening Olangchunggola and I must respect people's expectation to be connected with roadways to China.' Bhattarai, also the probable minister of upcoming government of leftist parties, said he will support to open northern borders with all budgetary and bureaucratic procedures required to open northern border. 'My priority has been boosted by TTA and BRI treaties signed by our leftist Prime Ministers KP Sharma Oli and Prachanda', said Bhattarai speaking over phone after his election victory,' therefore, this border with eastern Nepal will be commercially functional so soon.'
'Indispensible trade diversity and tourism boom'
Both parliamentarians of Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts say opening of commercially functioning northern borders will better trade and tourist of province one. 'Not many Chinese tourists are traders are arriving in East Nepal because it is so far from airways and no roadways connects China and East Nepal', says Rajendra Gautam, 'once we open 4-lane roadways between Nepal and China, this will increase arrival of Chinese tourists and traders in this region.' Gautam says Chinese investment and business ideas are crucial for Nepal's mission of development and prosperity.
Yogesh Bhattarai also echoes Gautam. He says, 'northern borders are incredible for Nepal's India-locked international trade routes and tourism boom.' According to Bhattarai, Chinese borders will increase cross-border trade and commerce cementing age-old cultural camaraderie between people of China and adjoining borders of northern Nepal. 'Nepal can no longer remain physically isolated in terms of being physically connected via roadways with world's giant economy and our close neighbor China', Bhattarai said, 'therefore, we must open up all northern border crossings with China and Olangchunggola is my immediate priority as the only federal parliamentarian from Taplejung district.'