Construction of IEV at Chobhar to start soon

Kathmandu, March 18

The government’s plan to develop an international exhibition venue (IEV) on 10.3 hectares of land in Chobhar of Kathmandu along with an Inland Clearance Depot (ICD)has gathered pace as the World Bank has given a ‘green signal’ to finance its construction.

Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) under the Ministry of Commerce, which is going to implement the ICD Chobhar had proposed to the World Bank to build IEV at the same location. The ICD Chobhar will be linked by the proposed Kathmandu-Tarai fast track road.

NITDB has already prepared the design of IEV and the cost for this particular project is expected to hover around Rs three billion, as per Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of NITDB.

“Along with the ICD there will be an international exhibition venue at the open space in the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley,” said Basnet. “The problems that domestic traders have been facing to host exhibitions will certainly end as they will have access to an international standard exhibition venue.”

As per NITDB’s initial design, the proposed venue will have an exhibition hall with a capacity to accommodate 435 stalls, auditorium hall, five conference rooms, meeting rooms, food court and parking facility, among others.

The government has given high priority to the construction of international exhibition venue as there is sufficient space to build it at Chobhar along with ICD. NITDB has acquired a total of 41.5 hectares of land of Himal Cement at Chobhar to develop ICD and World Bank has extended $15.5 million for its construction. Works to develop the ICD have already been initiated with demolition of structure of the cement factory.

“Around 80 per cent of the structure of the factory has already been demolished,” said Basnet, adding, “The consultant will submit a detailed design by the end of May and we will then invite a bid for the construction of the ICD.”

However, the ICD project could likely face some obstacles in its timely execution as some sections of land of the cement factory has been encroached upon by local clubs and other local community organisations. NITDB has written to the chief secretary-led project facilitation committee regarding the encroachment of land at the project site but a meeting of the stakeholders is yet to be organised to facilitate land clearance.

The World Bank had asked NITDB to complete the project by 2018. However, NITDB has deferred the completion date by a year owing to delay in acquiring land from Himal Cement, which was owned by NIDC Development Bank due to loan defaulted by the state-owned cement factory. Basnet, however, assured that the project will be completed by 2019.

The ICD has capacity to accommodate 626 containers of 20-foot each, parking facility for 205 trucks, loading and unloading facility, and six warehouses, according to NITDB.

The ICD will house customs office, quarantine block, bank, canteen, staff quarters, and building for security personnel. It will be able to cope with the traffic flow till 2039, based on the current import and export scenario.