Mustang locals want pact on Korala transit point signed during PM’s China visit

Mustang, March 15: The Mustang folk have called for signing an agreement on operating the Korala transit point bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region of China during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s upcoming visit to China.

Prime Minister Oli is embarking on a week-long official visit to the northern neighbour on March 20.The Mustang locals hope operation of the Korala transit point would help facilitate bilateral trade and transit. The border checkpoint remains close since 2003. The Chinese side closed the transit point for security reasons, it is stated.

The inter-country trade fair in which the traders of six VDCS in Upper Mustang and Tibet participated has been affected due to the closure of the transit point. The fair which bused to take place twice a year now takes place only once a year.

The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament two months back had directed the government to open the transit point at the earliest following an on-site study of the physical features and the condition of the road there.

Indra Dhara Bista, a social worker of Lomangthang, said that an agreement should be signed by the government at the highest level for opening the transit point. “Our Prime Minister is visiting China shortly and a concrete agreement should be signed during this visit regarding opening the transit point. We will do what is required for operating the transit point at local level” he added.

Although a dirt road has been constructed up to the transit point under the Kaligandaki corridor road, it is operational only for six months in a year. The road linking Korala needs to be upgraded and bridges constructed at different places on the route.

China has set up a security base camp near the border and already started surveillance by installing CC cameras.

“We should assure the Chinese side regarding security issues,” Bista suggested.

Similarly, Khagendra Tulachan, president of the Mustang Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that it would be easier to import various Chinese goods and also export Nepalese goods once the Korala transit points comes into operation.

“Nepal need not depend only on one country for import and export once this transit point is brought into use. The Korala transit point is like a gateway to the development of the Western Region. We are also hopeful as diplomatic initiatives have been taken towards operating the transit point,” he said.