Nepal border blockade: Ethnic groups lift roadblocks

Tuesday, 09 Feb, 2016

The local businesses and traders have been left without business and work for months and have been asking the protesters to end their border seizure.

However, Shiva Patel, general secretary of the Sadbhawana political party that represents the Madhesi minority, said that protesters had not withdrawn the blockade.

Birgunj is the key border point where landlocked Nepal gets fuel and other goods from India, its main supplier.

"There is no blockade at the checkpoint right now, and over 150 small and big vehicles have passed through since this afternoon", local police chief Raju Babu Shrestha told AFP.

Nepal Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel will visit India next week which might help in finalising the dates for the proposed visit of Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli to New Delhi, a senior government official said on Thursday.

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(ALSO READ: Madhesis call off protest; end India and Nepal border blockade). Hundreds of thousand Indian nationals majority business persons in the border attacked the UDMF cadres while they had attempted to stage the sit-in-protest.

In the wake of the agitation launched by the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), the International Olympic Committee had been rerouting the supply of petroleum products through other border points.

"We are very hopeful that after this visit, there will also be concrete discussions on the dates for Prime Minister Oli's visit". This was seen by sections in Nepal as supportive of the demands of the Tharus, Janjatis and the Madhesis-the latter seen as having cultural and familial links with people in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Supplies from India to Nepal, crippled for months due to the agitation by the Madhesi community, have "normalised to a large extent" as around 1,300 trucks are going to the Himalayan nation from here every day, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.

An amendment to the constitution was agreed last month to meet most of the demands of the southern activists, but the manner of drawing new federal state boundaries is still being contested. Kathmandu has termed the Madhesi agitation as "India-sponsored blockade".