Kathmandu, November 9: Several districts in central and western Tarai are reeling under an acute shortage of medicines, including life saving drugs, due to India’s unofficial blockade on Nepal and the prolonged Tarai banda. Health services in the districts have been affected as the stocks of medicines and surgical equipment in both government and private hospitals have already depleted. Containers carrying medicines and other raw materials have been stranded in the Indian side as the Raxaul border point in Birgunj has been obstructed for the past one and a half months. Fourteen pharmaceutical industries along the Birgunj-Hetauda section have stopped medicine production due to the lack of raw materials and security threats. Rajesh Sah, owner of the Birgunj-based Das medical store, said the border blockade has led to shortage of drugs particularly those used to cure blood pressure, diabetes, mental and heart ailments. Prakash Khandelwal, vice-chairman of the Association of Pharmaceutical Producers, said medicine production came to a halt due to border obstruction. He said a majority of pharmaceutical industries in Nepal import 90 percent of raw and packaging materials from Birgunj border. At least 400 cargo trucks loaded with medicines are awaiting clearance at Raxaul. Khandelwal said medicines worth around Rs2 billion has been stuck in the Indian side. In Hetauda, hospitals stopped surgical services except for emergency ones due to lack of oxygen.