Kathmandu, March 3
China has handed over the Araniko Highway to Nepal after completing its repairs.
The 114 kilometres-long highway from Kathmandu to Tatopani of Sindhupalchok district was damaged at five different places by the 2015 earthquakes, disrupting vehicular movement. The highway was repaired with Chinese grant assistance of Rs 760 million.
Ambassador of China to Nepal Yu Hong handed over the papers related to the highway repair to Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Dhana Bahadur Tamang at the ministry today.
The Chinese construction company – China Railway Sisuju Group Corporation – had repaired the damaged sections of the highway.
Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ramesh Lekhak, and Minister of State Sitaram Mahato were present in the handover ceremony.
Addressing the function, Secretary Tamang expressed his belief that Chinese support for the repair of the trans-Himalayan highway connecting Nepal and China would continue.
Chinese Ambassador Yu said the highway repair was one of the areas that China has assisted Nepal in post-earthquake reconstruction.
Joint Secretary at the ministry Bishnu Om Bade said the highway needed to be repaired at other sections also. He added that discussions were on whether to seek Chinese assistance for carrying out repair at the remaining points or whether the government itself would undertake it.
The Araniko Highway was constructed in 1960 with Chinese grant assistance.
Although the highway was repaired at different places following the Gorkha Earthquake, the section of the highway up to the Chinese trading town Khasa is still non-operational. A bulk of the Nepal-China trade takes place through this transit point. It is hoped that the transit point will be opened after the highway is completely repaired.
A version of this article appears in print on March 04, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.