Names finalised for Nepal-India oversight mechanism

Kathmandu, October 19

Nepal and India have finalised the names for an oversight mechanism to be set up to address bottlenecks in the ongoing Nepal-India economic and development projects in the country and to complete them on time.

Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi will lead the Nepali side of the joint mechanism, while Indian ambassador will lead the Indian side.

A senior foreign ministry official told The Himalayan Times the mechanism also includes joint secretaries from relevant ministries — including finance, commerce, physical infrastructure and transport, planning, home affairs, energy and irrigation that handle development and economic cooperation activities with the Indian side.

The Indian side comprises deputy chief of mission, economic cooperation counsellor and reconstruction counsellor at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

The foreign ministry official said the Indian side has already given names for the mechanism, while the names of members of the Nepali side has been tabled in the Cabinet, which is likely to finalise the names in its next meeting.

The idea of forming the oversight instrument was mooted during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India in mid-September in the wake of criticism that projects funded or pledged by Indiain Nepal had not been executed for years and even decades.

Nepal-India joint statement issued during PM Dahal’s visit stated that the instrument would “closely monitor progress of the ongoing projects under bilateral economic and development cooperation, address bottlenecks, and complete them expeditiously in a time-bound manner”.

Speaking in the Parliament today, Prime Minister Dahal said the oversight mechanism would play an instrumental role in timely execution of all projects run in the country under India’s development cooperation programme.

Talking with The Himalayan Times today, Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae — who heads the Indian side — said the mechanism would meet on a monthly basis and review all ongoing projects the Indian side was involved in on a regular basis and take necessary action then and there to ensure timely completion of such projects.

The mechanism would review the progress on projects together with implementing agencies/developers on a monthly basis, and take necessary steps to expedite their implementation.

During an interaction at the Indian Embassy, Ambassador Rae pointed out difficulties regarding land acquisition, clearing forest areas and other issues, which have unnecessarily delayed development projects in Nepal.

Meanwhile, PM Dahal, while briefing the Parliament today, said that his visit to Goa, India had helped build trust between Nepal and India and enhancing cooperation with other BRICS and BIMSTEC countries in areas of connectivity, energy, tourism etc.