EDITORIAL: Give top priority

The parliamentary development committee reports should not be shelved to gather dust; they must be executed for diversification of trade and commerce

The Parliamentary Development Committee has directed the government to reopen the Korala border points located in Mustang district. An agreement to open the Korala customs had been reached twice in 2003 and 2013, but the Chinese side closed it citing security reasons. The parliamentary committee headed by committee chairman Rabindra Adhikari has also directed the government through the Speaker to widen the Galchhi-Rasuwagadhi road linking Kyirung, Tibet. After the Development Committee submitted its detailed report following its simultaneous inspections of both the roads and the border points the government has authorized the Nepali Army to widen the 153 KM long Galchhi-Rasuwagadhi road up to two lanes within two years and the Finance Ministry has said there will be no financial crunch for the construction of the vital road which will be connected with China’s railway by 2020. A design has also been approved to construct a dry port at Rasuwa’s Timure. The committee has also asked the government to expedite the “work in a visible manner” on the 176 KM long Myagdi-Korala road so that it can also come into operation within two years.

Besides improving and widening both the roads suitable for all weather conditions, both the reports have also directed the government to establish dry ports along with the fully equipped godowns, immigration offices, residential quarters and security check posts close to the customs points and arrangement of snow-removing machine. The offices and residential quarters must be fully air-conditioned as the areas close to the Korala border is above 4000 metres and is covered with snow for four months during the winter. The report has also suggested expediting the work on the Kaligandaki Corridor which will make the route linking India and China even shorter. The committee believes that the strategic road can be completed within two years if it is divided into four parts and enough budget is allocated for it.

Both the roads less travelled of late are strategically important for Nepal to diversify her trade, commerce and transit routes. Nepal can immensely benefit if conditions and quality of these roads are improved and widened for commercial purposes. As China is all set to connect its Kyirung customs point with the railway by 2020, and it is moving towards western parts of Tibet, the northern neighbor has also asked the Nepal government to widen and re-strengthen her roads up to the customs points so that both the countries can do business throughout the year with ease. Not only can Nepal import essential goods from the north but also export goods to Tibet with competitive advantages. Nepal will no longer need to depend on a single country on essential goods, including petroleum products and cooking gas, once these roads are improved. Another advantage that Nepal can get benefit from the improvement of the two roads is the country’s tourism sector which can expand its business up to Mansorobar, one of the cherished pilgrimage sites of all Hindus and Buddhists all over the world. Therefore, the committee reports should not be shelved only to gather dust; they must be executed at the earliest for the diversification of trade and commerce.

Going solar

The country is blessed with the inexhaustible solar power that is all there to be utilized. We have been depending so far on fossil fuel. We have yet to tap the immense hydro potential we possess. Due to this we have to cope with protracted periods of power outages. Now it looks like the government and the concerned agencies will do all they can to ensure that the government and commercial buildings install solar-roof top systems. They would not be granted building permits without such systems.

These solar roof-top systems would be capable of generating 20 megawatts of electricity. This is very handy because they can be connected to the national grid in order to shorten load shedding duration. This bid should be given due consideration as it promotes alternative energy sources. Accordingly, the blueprints of government, commercial and corporate buildings will be approved only if the applicants agree in writing that they would generate as much as 25 per cent of the total energy they consume.