Kathmandu, November 12
India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Nepal’s Urban Development Minister Krishna Gopal Shrestha on Thursday jointly witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Nepalgunj in Western Nepal, aimed at bolstering bilateral trade and people-to-people contact.
Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Nepal’s Minister of State for Urban Development Rambir Manandhar also witnessed the virtual ceremony along with Ramesh Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development from Kathmandu.
India is building the Integrated Check Posts on either side of the Indo-Nepal border to systematise the movement of cross-border cargo trucks between the two countries by bringing customs and immigration facilities under one roof, according to a statement issued by the Indian Embassy here.
The ICP at Nepalgunj, once completed, will have export and import cargo handling facilities including warehousing, refrigerated cargo facilities, medical, plant and animal quarantine areas, amenities for travellers, CCTV and other security systems, 24/7 power backup, waste-water treatment facilities, etc. to facilitate smooth movement of cargo and passenger vehicles.
The facility is aimed at promoting systematic approach to cargo handling and, therefore, will result in saving of time and reducing overall transaction costs for cross-border trade and commerce, it said.
ICPs at Birgunj and Biratnagar were jointly inaugurated and operationalized in April 2018 and January 2020 respectively by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.
The cost of the current two-year project is Rs 147.12 crores. The facility will be built on about 61.5-hectare land identified by the Nepal Government in Janaki Rural Municipality of Nepalgunj.
A similar facility is being built on the Indian side in Rupaidiha by the Lands Ports Authority of India and the work on the facility started in May this year and over 10 per cent construction work has been completed.
During the construction period, the ICP Nepalgunj project is expected to create local employment and boost local economy by way of direct and indirect job creation and also supply of essential raw material and items from local markets, the statement said.
Overall, the facility created under the project is envisaged to promote cross-border trade and economic activities between India and Nepal, it said.
“In line with ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Government of India is committed to enhance connectivity with Nepal, including facilitating and promoting border trade and economic activities,” the statement said.
Goyal also announced that India will take up the construction of a fourth ICP at Bhairahawa in Nepal. Presently, the execution modalities and implementing agency for the project are under consideration.
“The creation of advanced cross-border logistics and infrastructure facilities over the last three years is expected to further boost connectivity and help realize the shared pursuit of stronger and mutually beneficial trade, economic and people-to-people trade ties between India and Nepal,” the statement added. PTI