Discussions on Nepal-India inland waterway service commence
Kathmandu, July 15
High-level officials of Nepal and India have begun discussions on operating inland waterway service in the Koshi and Narayani rivers of Nepal in the Capital today.
The Nepali delegation for the two-day meeting is being led by Madhav Belbase, joint secretary of the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat and the Indian team is being led by Pravir Pandey, waterway expert at the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).
During the state visit to India on April 6 to 8, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had released a joint statement that mentioned about formulating and mutually agreeing upon the requisite procedures and modalities for including inland waterways as an additional means of transport in the Protocol to the Treaty of Transit between Nepal and India.
Both the prime ministers had discussed on the possibility of inland waterway service in Nepal. They had also talked about conducting a feasibility study of the river basin of Nepal and taking the initiative to launch water transport system.
Officials involved in the discussions have agreed to send a Nepali team to Kalughat in Patna of India to study possible waterway models.
According to Belbase, the meeting is expected to come up with a concrete plan of action for the operation of water transport system in Nepal. Earlier, Indian authorities had agreed to provide all the necessary support to launch the inland and cross-border waterway service in Nepal.
Nepali officials have noted the massive impact the additional connectivity would have on the growth of business and economy of Nepal.
Apparently, on April 11, both countries had discussed about incorporating the agreement reached on inland waterway transportation between the two countries at the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting held in Pokhara.
“The introduction of an inland and cross-border waterway transportation system will help Nepal to connect to the sea, which could be of assistance in not only transporting people but also goods,” stated Belbase. “In this meeting, we are more focused on operating inland waterway system in the Koshi and Narayani river basins.”