Tourists Forbidden: Many Hidden Problems Remained as Gyirong Port Reopened
On Oct, 15, 2015, the grand celebration ceremony for the reopening of Gyirong Port was jointly held by officials from Tibet Autonomous Region, Chinese Embassy to Nepal and guests of Nepal Ministry of Commence and Supply. To Nepal which currently suffers from shortage of fuel supply, the reopening of Gyirong Port means a lot. However, the symbolic reopening was only a beginning, and the full recovery would still take some time.
Chinese rescue team worked hard to restore the Gyirong Port.
The Nepal earthquake on April, 25, 2015 resulted in tremendous damage to Zhangmu town and Gyirong town, two major business access between Tibet, China and Nepal. So far Zhangmu Port remained closed whereas on Oct, 13 Gyirong Port was reopened to the public with the exception of tourists. China’s 1 million donation that involved rice, salt, cooking oil was being gradually transported to Nepal to solve the crisis.
To Nepalese businessmen whose life heavily depends on safe and smooth transportation between two countries, their hope for an earlier resumption of road and border commerce is as desperate as current Nepal’s huger for fuel and booming tourism.
Why Is It Not Open for Tourists Now?
Nevertheless, the initial reopening of Gyirong Port was pretty much symbolic and many problems still needed to be dealt with urgently. The latest source showed that although the road to Gyirong Port (14 km) was restored after concerted effort made by border troops, the road condition was far from satisfactory and risky. In addition, affected by the aftershock, the supply of water, electricity supply and network remained crippled. For almost 4 months, all the border troops depended on burning wood to make dinner.
Virtually, all the petrol, diesel, and aviation fuel were imported from India. Out of discontent with the newly-passed constitution in Nepal on Sep, 20, India unilaterally imposed fuel sanction against Nepal, which lasted for over 3 weeks and paralyzed the traffic across Nepal. Now in the black market, the petrol price soared to 40 RMB (6.3US Dollar) per liter and 15liter gas equaled 600 RMB. Ridiculously high as it was, the fuel was hard to get.
When interviewed by Xinhua News Agency, Subarna Shrestha, couldn’t hold his excitement of the reopening of Gyirong Port. “We felt grateful for Chinese government’s disaster-relief efforts and pretty excited about the reopening of the Gyirong Port. Currently, Nepal suffered serious fuel shortage with slow recovery of tourism, etc. We did hope the reopening of Gyirong Port could help us get the fuel needed and regain the normal life. Most importantly, hopefully more Chinese tourists will come and travel to Nepal again.” Subarna added.
About Gyirong Port
The 110 km from Rasuwa to Kathmandu is historically known as the famous road of commence. It served as a major gateway of trade and tour between Nepal and Tibet, China in 60’s last century. The road from Gyirong Port to Rasuwa was formally opened on Dec,1, 2014, making it the largest overland trade port in Sino-Nepal history.
On 30, August, 2017, the Tibet Autonomous Region Press Office convened a press conference in Lhasa, and announced officially that Gyirong Port (Rasuwa Port on the Nepal Side) is open for foreign travelers, which means travelers can enter Tibet from Nepal by land, or leave Tibet for Nepal by land. It was also declared that Gyirong Port was now an international port which would facilitate further trade between China and Nepal.