EDITORIAL: Get it done

Now that the oversight mechanism is in place it may be hoped that delays of the past will indeed be a thing of the past

Nepal and India have finalised the names for oversight mechanism to address problems in the ongoing Nepal-India economic and development projects pledged by India.

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

Other members of the Nepal side will include joint secretaries from finance, commerce, physical infrastructure and transport and planning, home affairs, energy, irrigation and agriculture where India had pledged financial and technical assistance in the past.

Names of officials from these ministries will be finalised by the cabinet. The Indian side comprises deputy chief of mission, economic cooperation counsellor at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

The concept of forming a joint oversight mechanism was agreed upon during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India in mid-September after concerns were raised from Nepali side that most India-pledged development projects and economic cooperation had been pending for years.

As per the joint communiqué issued after Dahal’s official visit to India, both the sides had agreed that the oversight mechanism will “closely monitor progresses of the ongoing projects under bilateral economic and development cooperation, address bottlenecks and complete them expeditiously in the time bound manner”.

Both the sides have agreed to hold a monthly meeting to review the progress made on the ongoing projects in which Indian side was involved. The oversight mechanism will direct the implementing agencies/developers to complete the projects jointly undertaken.

During an interaction, Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae said that problems in land acquisition and clearing of forest area were the major hurdles in expediting the development projects funded by Indian government.

PM Dahal while addressing the parliament on Wednesday also hoped that the joint mechanism would contribute to timely implementation of the India-pledged development projects.

The postal road in the Tarai, some sections of the Mid-Hill Highway, Naumure hydro-power project, irrigation and embankment control projects, roads, railways, polytechnic institutes, construction of a petroleum pipeline and construction of the police academy, to name a few, are the ones pledged by India in the past.

But these projects have not made little progress. Before embarking on his visit to India, PM Dahal was advised by Nepali political parties, diplomats and experts not to reach any new agreements, because most of the previous ones have been moving slow.

The then PM KP Sharma Oli who paid a visit to India in early February to normalize relations between the two countries was also offered similar advice on the same ground. Failure to implement projects within the stipulated time have at times fueled misunderstandings between the two closest neighbours.

It is in the best interest of both Nepal and India that the two countries take serious joint efforts to take the projects through. Proper and timely implementation of the above-mentioned projects will not only help strengthen Nepal’s economy but also further enhance bilateral relations and cooperation.

At the same time, the Nepali side should also be ready to address the concerns raised by the Indian side. Now that the oversight mechanism is in place it may be hoped that delays of the past will indeed be a thing of the past.

Dengue threat

In the past few days a significant number of dengue patients have been found in the capital city. This deadly disease is caused by the bite of Aedes-aegypti and Aedes-albopicitus mosquitoes.

The zika virus is also spread by the mosquitoes of these species. The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Department of Health Services has decided to carry out a search and destroy operation.

Among other things, they would destroy the breeding ground of these mosquitoes in high risk locations such as the airport, New Bus Park, Kalanki and Ring Road. The people should be made acquainted with the symptoms of the disease which include mild to high fever, severe headaches, pain in the eyes as well as rashes.

Incidentally, these mosquitoes are also found in the valley although most of the patients in Kathmandu have a history of being in the Terai recently . The number of dengue patients could also have risen because many of those who had left for their home have returned.

So far, eight persons have tested positive for dengue in Kathmandu. An epidemic of the disease could occur if measures are not taken.