Panchkhal SEZ project formally recommencesThe special economic zone (SEZ) project at Panchkhal in Kavrepalanchok district has formally recommenced after languishing on the drawing board for almost a decade.
The special economic zone (SEZ) project at Panchkhal in Kavrepalanchok district has formally recommenced after languishing on the drawing board for almost a decade.
The construction of infrastructure at the planned economic zone, touted as a major facility to promote trade with China, will be started by this fiscal year, a government official said.
“Now the project will gain momentum,” said Chandika Prasad Bhatta, executive director of the Sez Development Committee. “The physical infrastructure development of the project has started, and we are in the process of inviting bids for other tasks.”
According to him, the government has set aside Rs46.2 million for the project. The budget will be used to acquire land for the project and build a boundary wall and other infrastructure, he said.
The government has already acquired 1,000 ropanis of land — 600 ropanis from the Devisthan Padula Subarnashwori Community Forest and 400 ropanis from the Sikharpur Community Forest. The Industry Ministry has paid Rs200 million to the Ministry of Forest for the land.
If the SEZ is brought into operation, more than 50 large factories can be operated there. It can also provide warehousing facilities for goods imported from China. “The facility will be built with the government’s own resources,” said Bhatta. Dil Sundar Shrestha, central member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that the project could attract investment if it is brought into operation as soon as possible. The late Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had announced that the construction would be completed a decade ago, but the project was put on ice.
Almost every successive government has promised to complete the project. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, when he was foreign minister in 2007, had also sent a proposal to China to construct a railway linking Lhasa and Panchkhal. Entrepreneurs have been constantly urging the government to complete the project at the earliest.