Nepal | November 21, 2019

Delays in land acquisition stall India-backed projects

Umesh Poudel

New Delhi, May 20

Facilitation of Nepal government in acquisition of land for different projects will play a crucial role in ensuring that any project, especially backed by the Indian government, is completed on time, said Vijay Keshav Gokhale, foreign secretary of India while addressing a Nepali media delegation here recently.

Speaking with the press, Gokhale said that many big India-backed projects in Nepal are being delayed due to the lengthy land acquisition process.

“The implementation of many projects gets stalled because the land acquisition process is very tough in Nepal,” he said, adding that the Indian government is committed to completing any project in Nepal within the stipulated timeframe with the coordination of the Nepali government.

“While Nepal government promises to provide the land to build various roads and railways, among other projects, unfortunately it takes a long time.”

Refuting the general conception that the projects supported by India take a long time to be completed, he further said that the progress of many projects is ‘highly satisfactory’.

Responding to the queries put forth by journalists, Gokhale noted that the construction of the 1,440-kilometre-long Postal Highway, which connects 20 districts of the Tarai belt, has failed to gain much momentum due to delays in land acquisition, along with removing trees, electric poles, among others, obstructing the way.

“But let us not focus on how things were in the past.

Nepal and India today share a strong bond of friendship and our collaboration on bilateral cooperation and development has reached a new dimension,” he said, adding that the Indian government is ready to address every concern between the two countries through mutual understanding.

Meanwhile, Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said, that Nepal too is facing a similar kind of problem as that faced by the India-backed projects in the country.

He further said that the government had formed a committee under the chairmanship of a member of the National Planning Commission in October and will soon submit its report to the government on how to solve the development bottlenecks.

In Delhi, Gokhale said that the Indian government has already submitted the pre-feasibility report of the much awaited Birgunj-Kathmandu railway project to Nepal.

After receiving an approval from the Nepal government, further works will commence as per plan in a timely manner, Gokhale assured.

A version of this article appears in print on May 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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