Land clearance for Chobhar ICD expected to gather pace

Kathmandu, April 10

The chief secretary-led project facilitation committee has taken some crucial decisions to expedite the construction of Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) at Chobhar. As the project has been facing various hassles in implementation, from forest land clearance to local problems, the chief secretary-led panel has asked four ministries related to this project to facilitate its implementation.

The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has been asked to hand over the land for the project. The District Forest Office (DFO) Kathmandu had provided forest area of the project site to the local community for its conservation some two years back, when the ground level works of the project had already begun. Of the total 816 ropanis of land allocated for the project site in Chobhar, DFO Kathmandu had provided 450 ropanis of land to the local community for the conservation of forest. The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation will do the needful for site clearance.

Likewise, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been asked to remove the temporary shelters, restaurants and other structures developed by encroaching the land of the project area. Earlier, Himal Cement Factory had been set up on the land where the ICD is going to be built. After the ownership of land was transferred to the Ministry of Commerce for the purpose of building the ICD with the assistance of the World Bank Group under Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project, land clearance works are underway. Demolition of the structure of Himal Cement is nearly complete, according to Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB), the executing agency of the project.

The project site needs to be completely vacant before the construction works can start. NITDB has said that it is going to issue tender for the construction by next month.

The project facilitation committee led by chief secretary has also asked the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation to direct Kathmandu Upatkaya Khanepani Ltd to shift its deep boring to another location.

Similarly, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has been asked to realign the Balkhu-Dakshinkali road section to facilitate the construction of the ICD. Furthermore, the panel has asked Ministry of Environment to provide necessary support for the environmental impact assessment of the project.

The World Bank Group has extended $15.5 million for the construction of ICD, which is expected to be completed by 2019. The ICD has capacity to accommodate 626 containers of 20-foot each, parking facility for 205 trucks, loading and unloading facilities, and six warehouses, according to NITDB. “Equipped with the customs, quarantine, bank and other required facilities for customs clearance, the ICD will be able to cope with traffic flow till 2039, based on the current import and export scenario.”