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Nathula Pass trade draws blank as traders stay away

May 10, 2009

Sarikah Atreya
The Hindu Business Line
May 8, 2008

Gangtok, May 8 -- The much hyped border trade
between Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)
through the Nathu La Pass has come unstuck.

No traders have stepped into trade marts located
on both sides since the border trade was opened
last Monday for the fourth year.

Though 60 Chinese traders had crossed the border
and participated in the low-key inauguration
ceremony of May 4 at Sherathang trade mart, they
refrained from coming to the Sikkim side the next
day, according to informed sources.
unhappy Chinese traders

This reflected their loss of interest in the
trade, said one local trader here. The Chinese
traders are unhappy because the Indian Government
is yet to accede to their request for reviewing
the present list of trade items and including new
items so as to make the border trade commercially
viable. The Chinese traders, it is further
learnt, were also not satisfied with the response
they got on the inauguration day as their goods,
all unlisted items, were not allowed into the trade mart.
Sikkim traders

They were also particularly unhappy over the fact
that none of the Sikkimese traders crossed the
border on the first day to participate in the
border trade at Renquinngang trade mart of TAR.
Sikkimese presence

The presence of a few Sikkimese traders at the
Sherathang trade mart on the opening day also
contributed to their disappointment.

However, the Sikkimese traders were helpless as
their applications for the mandatory travel pass
were still lying pending with the East district
administration which is the nodal agency to issue
all such passes for the border trade.

The Sikkimese traders too reiterated that the old
list of items would serve no purpose in present
times and highlighted the need for new list of items.
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