Traders can't go beyond Sherathang mart because of heavy snow and hailstorm

This year's trade between India and China through Nathu La in Sikkim, which was to have begun on Tuesday, could not come off because of inclement weather.

“Traders could not go beyond the Sherathang trade mart owing to heavy snow and hailstorm… The trading season is to continue four days a week till November 30,” D. Anandan, Collector, East, told The Hindu on the phone from Gangtok.

Trade through Nathu La, located at an altitude of 14,140 feet, resumed in July 2006, after 44 years. According to an agreement between the two countries, 29 items can be exported from India and 15 imported from China.

Indian traders go so far as the trade mart at Renquinggang in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, while Chinese traders visit Sherathang in east Sikkim.

Among the items allowed for export are agriculture implements, copper products, tea, rice and wheat. Those that can be imported include goatskin, wool, raw silk, butter and yak tail.

The authorities in Sikkim are hopeful of a good trading season in the coming months, given the number of applications for trade passes submitted. “We have already received 301 applications, out of which 75 have been cleared by the Intelligence Bureau,” Mr. Anandan said.

“Receiving this number of applications at the start of the season is a good sign. Last year, 360 applications had been submitted in the entire season,” he said.