Indian traders hit by slap row in Nepal
Kathmandu, Nov 16: A political turmoil across the border has costs India a loss of tens of millions of rupees since Tuesday, Nov 10.
What started the political upheaval in Nepal was five stinging slaps delivered by Nepal's Minister of State for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Karima Begum to Durga Prasad Bhandari, the chief district officer of Parsa on the India-Nepal border on Tuesday, Nov 10.
Begum alleged that Bhandari tried to humiliate her by sending an old car without police escort to receive her at the airport. She also said that she was treated in this way because she belongs to the Madhesi or plains community, who have been ignored by a succession of governments.
The conduct of Begum, candidate of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum which is the largest party in the Southern plain and the fourth largest party in last year's election, triggered protests from civil officials who demanded action against the minister within five days.
As part of the protest, the government offices in Terai remained shut including customs office at Birgunj, which is the epicenter of Nepal-India trade.
The impact of the these protests has reached across the Indian border as a loss tens of millions of rupees has been estimated due to goods-laden trucks being stranded at Birgunj custom office.
The Indian companies operating in Nepal, Birgunj point include Dabur India's wholly owned subsidiary Dabur Nepal, ITC's Nepal venture Surya Nepal, and Hindustan Lever's Nepal Lever.
While the protesters are irked by the home ministry's hesitation to take action against Karima Begum, home ministry clarified its stance saying that the arrest order against the minister cannot be issued unless the order is issued by the cabinet or the prime minister.
The protests has also resulted in a loss of NRS 520 million in revenue for the Nepal government.