India and Nepal agree to expedite infrastructure, cross-border connectivity projects | world-news | Hindustan Times
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India and Nepal agree to expedite infrastructure, cross-border connectivity projects

world Updated: Oct 27, 2016 21:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Nepal prime minister Prachanda and PM Modi at Hyderabad House, New Delhi. (HT File Photo)

Nepal and India have agreed to expedite various projects related to infrastructure and cross border connectivity for Nepal’s reconstruction bid. The projects have been funded by India.

An agreement was reached at the fourth Nepal-India joint commission meeting held in New Delhi on Thursday, at a foreign minister level.

According to Nepal’s ministry of foreign affairs, the meeting comprehensively reviewed aspects of Nepal-India relations under five broad clusters, namely politics, security and boundary, economic cooperation and infrastructure, trade and transit, power and water resources, and culture and education. The meeting adopted agreed minutes as its outcome.

In order to ensure the expeditious implementation of all ongoing projects, the joint commission decided to convene, within a month, the first meeting of the joint oversight mechanism of the officials of both governments, said the statement.

Nepal and India have recently agreed to set up a mechanism to clear the bottleneck in projects in Nepal. The foreign secretary of Nepal and Indian ambassador to Nepal will lead the respective sides who will ensure there are no glitches.

The two sides have agreed to clear DPRs of roads, Mahakali Bridge and irrigation projects to be implemented through the concessional loan provided by the government of India in 2014. During the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narnedra Modi n 2014 August, India had announced US $ 1 billion to execute various projects in Nepal upon the priorities of Nepal.

Both sides have agreed to expedte the completion of the first phase of Terai roads in the southern plain. A discussion was held for availing a new concessional loan for the development of Terai roads phase second and some other projects. India and Nepal have agreed for early completion of the two ongoing cross border railway link projects namely Biratnagar-Jogbani and Bardibas-Bijalpura-Jaynagar and initiation of works for the three other agreed cross border rail link projects namely Nepalgunj-Nepalgunj Road, Kakarbhitta-New Jalpaiguri, and Bhairahawa-Nautanawa.

Both the sides also met a consensus on early completion of works of integrated check post at Birgunj and commencement of construction of integrated check post at Biratnagar. India is constructing four ICPs in key trading points on either side of the border. Both sides have agreed to start implementing the Hetauda Polytechnic under the Indian assistance and finalization of projects to utilize grant and loan components offered by the Government of India for reconstruction.

On bilateral trade, according to the ministry, Nepali side requested the government of India to take concrete measures to enhance Nepal’s export to India by, addressing the concerns related to additional duties and charges, quantitative restrictions and rules of origin. Both sides agreed to expedite finalisation of MoU between Nepal bureau of standard and metrology and bureau of Indian standards.

On Nepal’s request for additional air entry routes, the joint commission directed the concerned civil aviation authorities todeal with the matter in the next meeting by end of 2016. Nepal requested India to take supportive measures to promote tourism industry by including Nepal in its concessional leave scheme and by granting multiple entry visas to India-bound third country tourists to enable them to visit Nepal, said the statement.

On Nepal’s request for the operationalisation of the free market provision contained in the Power Trade Agreement signed in 2014, the government of India conveyed that it would soon notify the new cross border regulation and guidelines on trade in power.

Both sides agreed to complete the examination of the draft DPR of the Pancheshwar multipurpose project to start further action which was agreed in 1996 which is known as Mahakali Treaty.

On construction of the remaining irrigation facility on Nepal side as per the Gandak Agreement, it was agreed to take required action after the government of Nepal provides the DPR.

It was also agreed that a joint team of expert wouldinspect and submit a report to address the problems of siltation, design and operation of Gandak irrigation facility.

Nepali side stressed the need for early completion of the link canal and head regulator at Tanakpur barrage for the discharge of water to Nepal as per the provision of Mahakali Treaty. The Indian side conveyed that project report would be finalised soon.

On Nepal’s proposal for the construction of three motorable bridges over Mahakali River at or around Sirsha, Jhulaghat and Darchula, in far west of Nepal.

The government of India suggested Nepal to send proposals with more information for their consideration.

On Nepal’s request for the synchronization of customs and connectivity at the ICD Dodhara-Chandani, and border points at Dodhara-Chandani-Khatima and Dhangadhi-Gauriphanta, the joint commission directed to send a joint team to visit the sites and prepare report for this purpose. These entry points are located in far west of Nepal.

In order to address the issue of inundation of border villages and towns in Nepal due to roads and infrastructure built in Indian Territory, both sides agreed to undertake joint inspection of specific places.

The 5th meeting of the joint commission will take place in Nepal at a mutually convenient date, it is agreed.

Formed in 1987, the joint commission is a bilateral mechanism at the foreign ministers’ level with a mandate of reviewing the entire spectrum of Nepal-India bilateral relations. The last meeting of the joint commission was held in Kathmandu in 2014.