New Delhi Extends a Helping Hand: Exporting 25,000 Tonnes of Sugar to Nepal
In a gesture of goodwill and cooperation, New Delhi has given its nod to the export of 25,000 tonnes of sugar to Nepal on a quota basis, with a deadline set until September 30 next year. This timely initiative comes as a significant relief to Nepal, which is grappling with a sugar shortage leading up to the important Tihar festival. The price of sugar in Nepal has skyrocketed, creating concerns for both consumers and sweet shops. Let's delve into the details of this decision and its impact.
Sugar Shortage Hits Nepal
The price of sugar in Nepal had risen from Rs75 per kilogram to Rs130 per kilogram just a few weeks before the Dashain festival due to export restrictions from India. After the extension of these restrictions beyond October 31, the price surged further to Rs160 per kilogram, making sugar a rare commodity in the Nepalese market. Traders and consumers alike have been struggling to obtain this essential sweetener, particularly as the Tihar festival, often referred to as the festival of lights, approaches.
Tihar and the Demand for Sugar
The Tihar festival is a significant celebration in Nepal, where it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. It is a time when sweet treats and sweets play a vital role in the festivities. Sweet shops across the country depend on a steady supply of sugar to cater to the high demand for traditional and modern sweets during this period. However, this year's shortage of sugar has caused anxiety among both sellers and buyers, as they fear that the traditional culinary delights and rituals associated with the festival might be compromised.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, India's Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution took a benevolent step by allowing the export of 25,000 tonnes of sugar to Nepal. This decision was made in a government-to-government arrangement, with Nepal expected to bring in the sugar through India's National Cooperative Exports Limited. The joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies, Gajendra Kumar Thakur, expressed their commitment to importing the sugar before the commencement of the Tihar festival on November 11.
A Request for Swift Action
To expedite the process, the Nepalese government has taken proactive steps by contacting their Indian counterparts through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have requested the export of 20,000 tonnes of sugar to meet the immediate demand before the festival. The ideal entry point for this consignment would be through Birgunj customs, easing the distribution process within Nepal. Furthermore, the Nepalese government has specified its preference for medium sugar varieties to meet the diverse culinary needs of the population.
The decision by New Delhi to export 25,000 tonnes of sugar to Nepal comes as a timely relief, especially in light of the approaching Tihar festival, a time when sugar plays an integral role in the country's festivities. This initiative not only demonstrates the strong bonds of cooperation between the two nations but also serves as a testament to India's commitment to supporting its neighbors during times of need. As both countries work together to ensure the timely arrival of the sugar consignment, it is hoped that this compassionate gesture will help bring back smiles to the faces of Nepalese families during the festival of lights.