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Explosives shortage ends: India permits smooth imports for Nepali projects

KATHMANDU: India has taken steps to ease the restrictions on importing explosives into Nepal, which had been in effect for nearly eight months. Starting last week, India has begun facilitating the process by providing ‘no objection’ letters for explosives required for development projects.

According to the Independent Power Producers’ Associations (IPPAN), they have started hearing and approving requests for importing explosives immediately. IPPAN mentioned that the applications are now being accepted more smoothly than before. India has expressed readiness to provide explosives for all legitimate purposes.

The restrictions on explosives were implemented since one and half year, which affected Chinese investment and contract projects in Nepal. The increased limitations on explosives entering Nepal through India’s land routes had stalled around a dozen large industries and development projects.

In response to the Indian embassy’s blocking of ‘no objection’ letters, two cement industries, six hydropower projects, and one road project demanded that the government facilitate the availability of explosives, citing difficulties in carrying out their operations.

Projects like the Sanjen hydropower project (78 megawatt capacity), Tanahun hydropower project (140 megawatt capacity), Upper Trishuli (121 megawatt capacity), and Langtang-Bhotekosi hydropower project (120 megawatt capacity) have been particularly affected, as stated by the Ministry of Home and Defense.

Moreover, prominent cement industries like Hwasin Narayani Cement in Dhading and Hongsi Shivam Cement in Nawalparasi, both of which are Chinese investments, have encountered challenges due to the shortage of explosives required for mining. The Chinese contractor responsible for various tunnels of the Terai-Madhesh Expressway also notified the government about the scarcity of explosives.

The restriction on importing explosives from India stems from allegations of misuse of such explosives in Nepal. The projects affected ranged from the Kathmandu-Tarai Expressway to cement industries and hydropower projects, which are considered national pride.

To import explosives purchased from India or a third country via India’s land route to Nepal, a ‘No Objection’ letter from the Indian Embassy in Nepal is necessary. However, India raised objections, citing instances of misuse of explosives brought into Nepal.

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