Of Banepa, Bardibaas Businesses and Beggars
After reading this piece, please put together a small team of like-minded, entrepreneurship oriented people with a bias for action, and take an easy drive from Banepa along the new highway to Bardibaas on the East West Highway.
As you go along the Roshi River and arrive at the confluence of the Sunkoshi River, ask yourself why Nepal remains poor. What prevents this country from generating the needed wealth and taking its rightful place in the global community? What business opportunities did you see as potentials for investment and why do we continue to remain a begging nation?
Historians tell us that all the way back in the seventh century; Nepalis were trading between the Gangetic plains, Tibet and China through trade routes that passed through Nepal. The Banepa – Bardibaas road was a key route that generated wealth and ensured our prosperity. On the trip down, please take time out to see the ancient “sattals” that served as rest houses for traders. Beautifully carved windows and pillars are proof of the wealth the trade generated. Also take time out to stop and speak to the families who are descendents of the trading families of Banepa and find out what happened to them and their wealth over time.
Make sure you take a break at the various eating places that are coming up to taste the fresh water fish from the Roshi and Sunkoshi. Do you see the potential for investing in “river side resorts” adventure sports facilities, and rafting camps? Then stop to taste the famous junar that grows in abundance in the whole region. How can Nepal be poor? Between the fertile land, perennial rivers, fishing, and fruits, we should be rich.
The Japanese “government and people” are giving us a wonderful gift in the form of a 158 km highway linking the hills of Nepal with the plains. Many tend to think of this only as a means to get from point A to B. The opportunity to create wealth lies in every meter in between. Places like Khurkot are going to become major business centers with a second road going north towards Ramechap. Here again the Asian Development Bank is building a bridge for us to create wealth. All the products from the two sides of the Sun Koshi can and will begin to find markets in the terai. This includes hydropower from Tama Koshi and Khimti. Goods produced in factories in the terai will now be distributed easily in wider areas of the hills of Nepal.
In September 1767 AD Captain Kinloch of the East India Company forces attacked Nepal with 2400 troops through Janakpur and Bardibaas. The Nepali forces defeated the British at Sindhuli Gaadi which is also on this highway. It was probably the first major defeat faced by the British in Asia. The fort and surrounding areas await investments and entrepreneurs who will launch numerous businesses. Imagine all the school excursions and service fees one could generate, besides the sale of food and souvenirs. Then there is the proposed train from Bardibaas to Janakpur, the land of Janak and his daughter Sita. What would every rupee invested in Bardibaas today be worth in say twenty years?