KATHMANDU, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Nepali traders involved in Nepal-China trade have seen prospect of increasing trade through Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route, after road upgrading works began on Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi section which connects Nepal's capital Kathmandu and bordering town-Rasuwagadhi.
Upgrading work in the section began this week which is being undertaken with the Chinese grant to Nepal, Nepal's Department of Road has said.
"Under the Syaphrubesi-Rasuwagadhi upgrading, the road will be widened to two lanes from current one lane and it will also be blacktopped," Arjun Jung Thapa, chief of foreign cooperation division at the department told Xinhua on Sunday.
The road is a part of 86-km Rasuwagadhi-Syaphrubesi-Mailing-Galchhi Road which connects capital city-Kathmandu with another national highway. It will be the alternative road to current Kathmandu-Rasuwagadhi Road.
In the last fiscal year 2018-19, this concluded in mid-July, as much as 20 percent of Nepal's total trade took place through this route, which traders believe could be enhanced with better infrastructure on the Nepali side.
"Poor infrastructure is one of the main reasons why traders are still trading with China through the sea route, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of Nepal," Ashok Kumar Shrestha, senior vice-president of Nepal Trans-Himalaya Border Commerce Association, a body of traders involved in bilateral trade, told Xinhua on Sunday. "If the infrastructure is improved, the traders will prefer the land route as it takes much less time for importing goods from China."
In the last fiscal year, bilateral trade worth 372 million U.S. dollars took place through Rasuwaghi-Kerung route, which is 20 percent of Nepal's total trade with China, according to Nepal's central bank data. Bilateral trade between the two countries in the last fiscal year stood at 1.83 billion dollar.
Now, upgrading works began in Syaphrubesi- Rasuwagadhi with Chinese contractor China Tibet Tianlu already deployed equipment on the site. Likewise, Department of Road is also upgrading the remaining part of the 86-km road.