Nepal | August 12, 2020

House panel directs govt to expedite trade routes with China

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 9

The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has instructed the government to expedite the upgradation of four trade routes with China — Tatopani, Rasuwagadhi, Korala Pass-Jomsom and Hilsa-Simikot — which will ease the movement of vehicles and shorten the travel duration of the trucks and containers in trade with the northern neighbour.

The committee has sought clarification with the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management (MoPIT) regarding the slow progress of some north-south road networks even though they have been identified as national pride projects. The Koshi corridor links northern neighbour from Kimathanka of Sankhuwa Sabha, Karnali corridor from Hilsa of Humla district and Kaligandaki corridor from Korala Pass-Jomsom.

The committee, after holding discussions with Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, MoPIT Secretary Gajendra Thakur, Director General of the Department of Roads Madhav Karki and Director General of Department of Transport Chandraman Shrestha, directed the government to concentrate on early completion of the national pride projects and strategic road networks.

In the meeting, Chairperson of the committee Rabindra Adhikari clarified, “We don’t think China could substitute for trade with India, but we must expand our trade relations with both economic superpowers by capitalising on our geographical location.”

National Transport Policy introduced in fiscal 2001-02 had also envisaged constructing roads to connect the northern border with the hilly districts of Nepal, from where access could be easily established with the markets — or by connecting Tibet with the central region.

Had this link been established by now, people would not have to suffer due to disruptions of supply line from India, which the country had faced in 1989 as well, according to Adhikari.

The House panel has said that it will facilitate in ironing out the environmental and budgetary constraints related to hassles in coordinating with other line agencies for early construction of the national pride road projects.

In the meeting, Minister Gachchhadar pledged to do his best to ensure early completion of the national pride projects.

However, he linked the current situation of exploring options from northern neighbour after obstruction in supply from southern neighbour ‘like digging a well after the house has caught fire’.

“We do not take India and China as alternatives of each other. We have to maintain friendly relations with both countries and reap benefits from both neighbours,” Minister Gachchhadar said.

The House committee has also instructed the government to take initiative to open the unofficial blockade imposed by India at the earliest, the committee has said that disruptions in supply lines from India is against the international treaties.

The House panel has also instructed the MoPIT and Department of Transport Management to properly manage public transportation system in the country, give priority to the electric vehicles and trolley buses considering the long-term energy demands of the country.

 


A version of this article appears in print on November 10, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


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