Nepal-India joint team inspects ICP Birgunj

Kathmandu, October 15

A joint team of Nepal and India today inspected the Integrated Check Post (ICP) Birgunj and instructed the contractor to complete the remaining works as soon as possible.

Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce Chandra Kumar Ghimire and Ambassador of India to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri, along with officials from the government and Embassy of India in Kathmandu, had observed progress in construction of ICP Birgunj today, which is being developed under the grant assistance of the government of India.

According to the officials, a link road from ICP of Indian side to ICP Birgunj and some necessary infrastructure like warehouse, parking lots, Electronic Data Interchange building within the ICP, are yet to be developed.

Meanwhile, the launch date scheduled by the prime ministers of Nepal and India is fast approaching. Both the prime ministers had agreed to operationalise ICP by the end of this year, as per the joint statement issued by them during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to India in August.

The construction of ICP Birgunj had started in April of 2011 and has missed the completion deadline several times. While the ICP on the Indian side was completed about a year back, its launch has been postponed as ICP in Birgunj is yet to be completed.

The ICP Birgunj, which is being constructed by an Indian contractor, was supposed to have been completed by March this year as per a deadline set during the meeting of senior officials of Nepal and India held here in December 2016.

According to the officials, the contractor will not be excused for any further delays and there are plans to bring ICP into operation by mid-December.

Along with the construction of the ICP Birgunj, preparatory works of other ICPs are also expected to gather momentum because the Indian government has also been giving them due priority. Nepal and India have planned to build ICPs on their respective sides at ports of entry in Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.

Under the agreement, Nepal needs to just provide the required land for the ICPs and the remaining cost of ICP construction will be borne by the government of India. Nepal government has already acquired 129 bighas of land for construction of ICP in Biratnagar.

Though Nepal and India had signed a memorandum of understanding in 2005 for the construction of ICPs in four major border points along Nepal-India border, namely Birgunj (Nepal)-Raxaul (India), Biratnagar (Nepal)-Jogbani (India), Bhairahawa (Nepal)-Sunauli (India) and Nepalgunj (Nepal)-Nepalgunj Road (India), preparatory works like land

acquisition and detailed designs of Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj ICPs are yet to gather pace.