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Medical supplies to Nepal stuck at border: Importers

Punjab health authorities seize expired medicines worth Rs_43 lakh

Kathmandu: Many hospitals in Nepal have run out of medicines with more than 300 freight trucks laden with essential medical supplies stuck at the Raxaul trade point in India, Nepalese pharmaceutical importers said today.

Vice Chairman of the Association of Pharmaceutical Producers of Nepal, Prakash Khandelwal said more than 300 trucks carrying medicines have been stranded at Raxaul.

He accused the Indian government of not allowing the trucks ferrying medicines to enter Nepal despite being rerouted to Bhairahawa customs points, where situation is relatively relaxed.

The Indian officials are only sending tomatoes and potatoes by blocking essential goods, he alleged.

The trucks carrying medicines and raw materials used in manufacturing medicines have been stuck at the border for two months owing to the agitation launched by the Madhesi parties and the Indian government’s “undeclared blockade”, Nepali entrepreneurs claimed.

The Indian government has even violated the war-time international law prohibiting obstruction of medical supplies by withholding the freights laden with medicines at Raxaul, Nepalese importers alleged.

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting division of their ancestral homeland in the new Constitution. The agitation close to the main trading point near Raxaul has halted supply of essential goods, causing acute shortage of fuel in Nepal.

Over 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation from India via the major border trading points has been badly affected.

The agitation by Madhesi groups has paralysed normal life across Nepal while the dearth of medicines has put lives of patients at stake.