India to expedite Key infrastructure projects in Nepal

Kathmandu, October 27

Nepal and India today agreed to expeditiously implement some key infrastructure and connectivity projects that the Indian side had previously pledged to finance in Nepal.

During the fourth Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting that concluded in New Delhi today, the two sides decided to expedite two ongoing cross-border railway projects and initiate three more cross-border railway projects.

Biratnagar-Jogbani and Bardibas-Bijalpura-Jaynagar are the two ongoing railway projects. Other three cross-border railway projects that the two sides have agreed to initiate include Nepalgunj-Nepalgunj;  Kakarbhitta-New Jalpaiguri, and Bhairahawa-Nautanawa.

Likewise, the two sides  also agreed to complete phase I of postal highway (Hulaki Road) in the Tarai and integrated check posts in Birgunj. They also agreed to start construction of ICP in Biratnagar. India also agreed to provide concessional loan to Nepal for the development of phase II of Tarai roads.

The foreign minister-level joint mechanism is the highest-level permanent instrument between the two neighbours. The meet was was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat from Nepal along with Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar from Indian side.

The two sides also agreed to complete examination of the draft DPR of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project; start construction of Hetauda Polytechnic Institute and finalise projects to utilise grant and loan components offered by India for Nepal’s reconstruction.

“The meeting made a comprehensive review of all aspects of Nepal-India relations under five broad clusters namely political, security and boundary; economic cooperation and infrastructure; trade and transit; power and water resources; culture and education,” read a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In order to ensure expeditious implementation of all ongoing bilateral cooperation projects, the JC further decided to convene within a month the first meeting of a joint oversight mechanism which was set up to monitor and clear the bottlenecks in ongoing projects.

On bilateral trade, both sides agreed to expedite finalisation of MoU between Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology and Bureau of Indian Standards.

On Nepal’s request for additional air entry routes, the JC directed the concerned civil aviation authorities to deal with the matter in the next meeting by end of 2016, read the MoFA statement.

Likewise, on Nepal’s request for the operationalisation of free market provision contained in the Power Trade Agreement signed in 2014, the Indian side conveyed that it would soon notify the new cross-border regulation and guidelines on trade in power.

Nepali side stressed the need for early completion of the link canal and head regulator at Tanakpur barrage for the discharge of water to Nepal as per the provision of Mahakali Treaty. The Indian side conveyed that the project report would be finalised soon.

The Nepali side also raised the issue of inundation of border villages and towns in Nepal due to roads and infrastructure built in Indian territory, on which Indian side agreed to undertake joint inspection of specific places.

In a statement, Ministry of External Affairs of India said the JC reviewed entire gamut of bilateral partnership as well as exchanged views on sub-regional, regional and international issues of mutual interests.