Imports through Kerung route ‘not impossible’The Parliamentary Development Committee has concluded the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung trade route can be used for importing essential goods, including petroleum products, from China
The Parliamentary Development Committee has concluded the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung trade route can be used for importing essential goods, including petroleum products, from China by upgrading road infrastructure on the Nepali side.
The committee submitted a field report to House Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar on Sunday after a team of lawmakers, government officials, Nepal Army officials and local stakeholders wrapped up a visit to the Rasuwagadhi border point.
As per the report, the route can also be developed as a transit between India and China after teh upgradation of the Kathmandu-Rasuwagadhi road.
The committee has recommended various measures to boost trade with China. The report has stated that it is not impossible to enhance trade if roadways are expanded and their quality is improved. “It is difficult, but isn’t impossible,” the committee report read. “The government should immediately initiate the process of upgrading the road based on the recommendations made.”
Development Committee Chairman Rabindra Adhikari said the focus should be on widening the Rasuwgadhi-Betrrawati road section with passing zones at several places. “The government should categorise the project as National Pride Project and form a committee under the Cabinet to fast-track the work,” he said, adding the project can be concluded at a cost of around Rs2 billion.
As per the recommendation, the 36km Galchhi-Betrawati road should be upgraded to two lanes and black-topped. And, the Department of Road should fast-track the process of choosing a consultant, initiate designing process to upgrade the 28km Betrawati-Mailung-Syafrubeshi road into double lane. A road section being opened by a hydropower project should be handed over to the Nepal Army and the department should carry out the upgradation task, the report stated.
The committee has also recommended the government ease the land acquisition process by declaring emergency situation in the case of Syafrubeshi-Rasuwagadhi road section. Betrawati-Dhunche-Rasuwagadhi road section should be declared as an alternative road and 15m land on either sides should be acquired for the widening purpose.
The report has stated that materials required for blasting, petroleum and other items should be adequately supplied to the Nepal Army and houses along the construction areas should be removed by making necessary arrangements and paying reasonable compensation to the owners.
According to the report, the government should also look into provisions related to environment protection and make an arrangement whereby concerned agencies could authorise chopping off trees within 15 days of the recommendation from the Road Department. The road should be prioritised as a separate project within the Road Department and should have dedicated staffers.
The Development Committee report has stated the government should plan a two-year project with a provision that the deadline would not be extended unless there is a natural calamity. The contract agreement should also have a provision of penalising the contractor if it fails to conduct the task on time and hire different contractor for the remaining tasks. “We have concluded that two years would be enough for completing the project. The actual deadline should be set at one and half years with a provision of six months’ extension.