Kathmandu, December 4
The country’s second Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Biratnagar is expected to come into operation from next month.
The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) officials informed that necessary infrastructure of the ICP on Nepal side has been completed and plans are afoot to operate it as soon as possible. The ICP is being constructed with the assistance of the Indian government.
“Though all physical infrastructure of the ICP in Biratnagar has been completed, the Indian side is yet to hand it over to Nepal,” informed Hari Krishna Mishra, deputy director of NITDB, adding that the ICP will start operation immediately after the Indian government hands it over to Nepal.
Similarly, the government is also yet to determine the inauguration and operation modality of the ICP in Biratnagar. However, discussions are under way to operate the ICP in similar model as the ICP which is in operation in Birgunj.
Likewise, high-level dignitaries of Nepal and India are expected to inaugurate the Biratnagar-based ICP. Recently, State Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Moti Lal Dugad had announced that the Biratnagar ICP would be inaugurated by the executive heads of two countries.
The ICP in Biratnagar will offer an effective platform for traders for trade logistics. It will be equipped with customs, immigration, quarantine, banks, warehouse, litigation shed and parking that are required for the clearance of goods and movement of people from a single location, thereby reducing trading cost for traders.
The private sector is eagerly awaiting for the Biratnagar ICP to come into operation as it is expected to help reduce the cost and time of country’s foreign trade. During a meeting with Minister Dugad, industrialists and traders of Biratnagar corridor had urged for immediate operationalisation of the ICP.
Indian contractor Dineshchandra R Agrawal Infracon Ltd constructed the ICP at almost Rs 2.1 billion. The construction of ICP in Biratnagar started in 2016 after the government handed over necessary land to the Indian authority.
Spread over 129 bighas of land, the Biratnagar ICP will also have a cargo building, terminal building and offer currency exchange service, internet, cold storage, CCTV, restaurants and banks, among other facilities.
Nepal’s first ICP at Birgunj-Raxaul border has been in operation since April 7, 2018. Indian government has assured Nepal to develop such ICPs in various other entry points to ease Nepal-India bilateral trade and also Nepal’s third country trade via India. Though Indian government will bear the cost of the construction of ICPs, Nepal will have to provide the necessary land.
A version of this article appears in print on December 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.