Birgunj

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Birgunj
बीरगञ्ज/बीरगंज
Gateway of Nepal.
Sub-Metropolitan City
The Nepalese bordering gate to India in Birgunj
The Nepalese bordering gate to India in Birgunj
Nickname(s): BRJ
Birgunj is located in Nepal
Birgunj
Birgunj
Location of Birgunj in Nepal
Coordinates: 27°0′N 84°52′E / 27.000°N 84.867°E / 27.000; 84.867
Country    Nepal
Zone Narayani Zone
District Parsa District
Official Language Nepali
Population
 • Total 207,980[1]
Time zone NST (UTC+5:45)
Postal code 44300, 44301
Area code(s) 051

Birgunj (also Birganj) (Nepali: बीरगंज) is a metropolitan municipality and border town in Parsa District in the Narayani Zone of southern Nepal.It lies 283 km (176 mi) south of the capital Kathmandu, attached to north of the border of the Indian state of Bihar. As an entry point to Nepal from Patna and Kolkata, it is known as the "gateway to Nepal". The town has significant economic importance for Nepal as most of its trade with India is via Birgunj and the Indian town of Raxaul. Tribhuvan Highway links Birgunj to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

Etymology

Birgunj was established as a conglomerate of several villages in and around Gahawa Mai Temple. Gahawai Mai Temple remains the epicenter of the town. The settlement was named after the Rana Prime Minister Bir Shamsher, thus acquiring the name Birgunj .

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census, Birgunj had a population of 207980.[1] It is the biggest city in Narayani Zone and the headquarters of the Parsa District. Although Nepali is the official language, the native Bhojpuri language is the main language spoken. In addition to Nepali, several other languages are spoken, including Bhojpuri, Maithili and English.

History

Ancient

Birgunj, founded in 1897 by 11th Rana Prime Minister Bir Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. Ancient Name was Gahawa. A Large number of Indian origin having migrated mostly from Bihar and Rajasthan over a period of time ranging from 50–200 years. Town comprises various ethnic groups,the largest being the Madhesi.City turns into Sub-metropolitan in early 1995.

Modern

On 18 May 2006 the parliament of Nepal declared that the country would become a secular state. This led to unrest by Hindu fundamentalist groups across Nepal; the town of Birgunj was forced to close for two days.[2]

The border which was being shutdown for several months due to conflict between Madhesi Parties and Nepal Government. On February 5, 2016 after 135 days blockade was opened after PM K.P. Oli phonetalks with Madesi Leader Rajendra Mahato. 50 cargos entered on that day.

Economy

Birgunj is a major business centre of Nepal, especially for trade with India. Almost all trade with India occurs through this route. The Indian border town of Raxaul has become one of the busiest towns for heavy transportation due to high trade volume. The 29 km (18 mi) distance from Birgunj to Pathlaiya is the busiest highway in Nepal. Most industries are represented, including agriculture, chemicals, textiles, wood, petroleum, etc.[3] Almost 56% of the total products of Birgunj are exported to the Indian state of Bihar.[4]

Transport

Birgunj was the only city that connected the capital city with India. Birgunj railway station was connected by the Nepal Government Railway (NGR) to Raxaul station in Bihar across the border with India. The 47 km (29 mi) railway extended north to Amlekhganj in Nepal. It was built in 1927 by the British but discontinued beyond Birgunj in December 1965.[5] The 6 km (3.7 mi) railway track from Raxaul to Birgunj was converted to broad gauge two years after the Indian railways converted the track to Raxaul inside India to broad gauge. Now, broad gauge railway line connects Raxaul to the Sirsiya (Birgunj) Inland Container Depot (ICD) that became fully operational in 2005. Talks have been held to reopen the railway route from Birgunj to Amlekhganj in Nepal by converting it to broad gauge because of its socio-economic importance. Trains run to major cities of India from Raxaul, including the Satyagrah Express to Delhi, Mithila Express to Kolkata, Lokmanya Tilak express to Mumbai, and HYD-RXL express to Hyderabad.

Goods are transported to and from India via Birgunj dry port, which is the key terminal of surface cargo delivery to Nepal. This cargo point on the south connects the heart of the country, Kathmandu, via another key industrial city, Hetauda. It is also served by Tribhuvan Highway, extending from the Indian border at Raxaul through Birgunj and Hetauda to Kathmandu with frequent bus service. Simara Airport — 18 km (11 mi) north near the highway in Pipara Simara, Bara district — offers scheduled flights to Kathmandu.

India and Nepal have an open border with no restrictions on the movement of their citizens. There is a customs checkpoint for the movement of goods and third country nationals.[clarification needed]

Sports

The city has its own Stadium, Narayani Stadium which is Nepal's second largest stadium after Dasarath Rangasala. The Stadium has capacity of 15000 seats.In recent times the stadium is poor in condition. A National level Cricket Ground is also located beside the Narayani Stadium. The Cricket ground has top class outfield and a better Cricket Pitch. National level and Regional level cricket tournament are regularly held here. Every year day night T20 Cricket Tournament are held using temporary light towers. Day night Cricket match in Nepal was first played here.

The city is known as the cricket hub of Nepal. Nepal national cricket team's players- Aarif Sheikh and Avinash Karn hail from Birgunj. Adarsh Nagar Stadium is also one of major cricket Stadium. Cricket is popular and is played more than any other games and sports.

Education

Education was started in town with the establishment of Trijuddha School by Juddha Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana during his regime.

Thakuram Multiple Campus is the first campus in town as well as in Narayani zone. However, there are many other private colleges. Students from villages around Birgunj migrates for higher education. National medical college and hospital, Evergreen medical college and The himalayan Institute of health science have been best option for medical students throughout Nepal.

Media

Birgunj has many FM community radio stations including Terai FM, Radio Birgunj, Narayani FM, Bhojpuriya FM, Indreni FM, etc. and several websites focused on local news like www.yatradaily.com, www.thestatedaily.com . It is covered by the local television station, Birgunj Television (BTV). Many local Newspaper like prateek, Kripa, jan Aawaz etc. are published.

Health

National Medical College under TU and Kedia Dental College also under TU are two major institutions providing health facilities. Narayani Sub Regional Hospital is biggest hospital. There are many other big and small hospitals throughout the city such as Gandak hospital, Advance Medicare Hospital, Kedia eye hospital etc. The area extending From Chhapakaiya ward No 3 up to Hotel Makalu is full of private nursing home and clinics. Mostly the people from village area of Parsa, Bara and Raxaul come here for Check Up.

Culture

Birgunj is occupied equally by followers of Hinduism and Islam. Chhath, Dipawali, Eid etc. are major festivals.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Nepal population statistics". 
  2. Nepal's Hindu majority is denouncing the recent move to end Nepal's longtime status as the world's only Hindu state. The Christian Science Monitor
  3. "Birgunj: Nepal's 'drug capital'". english.aljazeera.net. 
  4. CPS, NEPAL 2013, Annual UN Report Bureau.
  5. "Transport in Nepal". nepal.saarctourism.org. 

External links