Nepali, Indian officials agree to expedite India-funded projectsSenior officials from Nepal and India on Tuesday agreed to clear bottlenecks in India-funded projects in Nepal and concluded to speed up works.
Senior officials from Nepal and India on Tuesday agreed to clear bottlenecks in India-funded projects in Nepal and concluded to speed up works.
They also agreed to fix the deadline for the completion of the projects. The development comes amid criticism that India-funded projects in Nepal fail to make desired progress.
The decision was taken during the first meeting of the oversight mechanism formed to remove bottlenecks in India-funded projects in Nepal.
Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae led their respective teams at the meeting that also discussed ways to expedite the implementation of the India-funded projects in Nepal in which India has invested billions of dollars.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), seven big India-funded infrastructure projects in Nepal were discussed in the first meeting where relevant stakeholders were also present.
According to MoFA, progress and hassles in India initiated cross-border railway connections like Biratnagar-Jogbani, Bardibas-Janakpur-Bijalapur and another railway projects connecting Nepalgunj to India and Kakadvitta to Jalpaigudi also figured during the meeting. Both sides have decided to speed up the ground works.
Similarly, expansion of three other proposed cross-border railway line was also discussed in the meeting.
Completion of the integrated check post in Birgunj in Nepal and staring construction of another ICP in Jogbani, Biratnagar were other agendas of the meeting, according to officials.
Officials also discussed progress made in the Upper Karnali hydroelectricity project being developed by the GMR and Arun III which is being developed by Sutluj Vidyut Nigam. Both are 900MW projects. Officials have agreed to expedite land acquisition and other negotiation processes as per the schedule.
Similarly, the two sides also discussed progress made in Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project that has installed capacity of 4.800MW. The project is in limbo for long for the lack of a detailed project report.
Likewise, construction of a bridge over Mahakali River in the Farwest and completion of the first phase of Hulaki Road (Postal Road) in the Tarai were also discussed during the meeting.
The two sides will also discuss utilisation of the India-announced $1 billion reconstruction aid.
After widespread criticism that the projects failed to make the expected progress, the new alternative was mooted recently.
During the state visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to India in September, the two sides had agreed to form the mechanism that would sit at least once a month with project chiefs, other concerned officials, contractors and stakeholders to resolve any issues hampering the projects.
The fourth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission at foreign minister level in New Delhi in October had also decided to convene the meeting within a month.
According to the officials, the first meeting also prepared a working modality for the oversight mechanism specifying when and how meetings may be held, if visits to project sites are necessary to identify problems and if experts need to be hired to assess the progress.
Agendas on the table
- Progress and hassles in India initiated cross-border railway connections like Biratnagar-Jogbini, Bardibas-Janakpur-Bijalapur and another railway projects connecting Nepalgunj to India and Kakadvitta to Jalpaigudi also figured during the meeting
- Expansion of three other proposed cross-border railway lines
- Integrated check posts in Birgunj and Jogbani
- Progress made in the Upper Karnali and Arun III hydroelectricity projects
- Pancheshowor Multipurpose Project
- Construction of a bridge over Mahakali River
- Hulaki Road in the Tarai
- Utilisation of the India-announced $1 billion reconstruction aid