Thursday, November 12, 2020

Construction of ICP at Nepalgunj begins with the joint Ground-Breaking ceremony

 The construction of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) officially began in Nepalgunj today.

The third ICP – after Birgunj and Biratnagar ICPs – construction beginning ceremony was held virtually where minister for Urban Development Krishna Gopal Shrestha and Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal jointly witnessed the ground-breaking ceremony, according to a press note issued by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu.

Minister of State for Urban Development Rambir Manandhar and Indian ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra also witnessed the event along with secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development Dr Ramesh Prasad Singh from Kathmandu, the press note reads.

Mmember of parliament from Banke-2 Mohd Istiyak Rai and mayor of Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City Dr Dhawal Shamsher JB Rana participated in the event along with others from the Nepalgunj Project site.

The ICP in Nepalgunj, once completed, will have export and import cargo handling facilities like warehousing, including refrigerated cargo facilities, medical, plant and animal quarantine areas, amenities for drivers and passenger, CCTV and other security systems, 24-7 power backup, waste-water treatment facilities and many more facilities to facilitate smooth movement of cargo and passenger vehicles, the embassy press note reads, adding that the facility is envisaged to promote a systematic approach to cargo handling and, therefore, will result in the saving of time and inconvenience to visitors and reduce overall transaction costs for cross-border trade and commerce. “The project will be implemented by M/s Rajdeep Buildcon Pvt Ltd – a Pune-based Indian company – under the supervision of M/s RITES International Ltd, a government of India undertaking.”

The tendered cost of the project is Rs 147.12 cror Indian Currency (around Rs 2.35 billion) and construction period is two years. The facility will be built on about 61.5 hectare land identified by the government in Janaki Rural Municipality ward 1 and ward 16 of Nepalgunj Sub-metropolitan City.

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 already been completed.

The Department of Urban Development – under the Ministry of Urban Development – will facilitate the construction of ICP in Nepalgunj on the ground, according to the press note of the embassy that has expressed hope that the ICP construction project in Nepalgunj is expected to create local employment and boost the local economy by way of direct and indirect job creation and also supply of essential raw materials and items from the local markets. “Overall the facility created under the project is envisaged to promote cross-border trade and economic activities between India and Nepal.”

The Indian government is helping build ICPs on either sides of the Indo-Nepal border to systematise the movement of cargo trucks between the two countries by bringing customs and immigration facilities under one roof.

The ICPs at Birgunj and Biratnagar were jointly inaugurated and operationalised in April 2018 and January 2020, respectively by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. 

According to the embassy press note, the government of India – in line with the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy – is committed to enhancing connectivity with Nepal, including facilitating and promoting border trade and economic activities.

Commerce and Industry Minister of India Piyush Goyal, on the occasion, announced that the government of India will take up the construction of a fourth ICP at Bhairahawa in Nepal under Indian funding. Currently, the execution modalities and implementing agency for the project are under consideration, he added.

The construction of advanced cross-border logistics and infrastructure facilities over the last three years is expected to further boost connectivity, and help realise the shared pursuit of stronger and mutually beneficial trade, economic and people-to-people ties between India and Nepal, the embassy press note reads.

Nepal’s export-import trade is expensive also due to poor physical infrastructure on the border customs. The construction of ICPs along the Nepal-India border is expected to smoothen Nepal’s trade, both with India and third country.