Birgunj ICP likely to be ready by MarchConstruction of Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Birjung is likely to be completed by March.
Construction of Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Birjung is likely to be completed by March.
Being built under India’s assistance, the facility will be operated by Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB), which also operates Birgunj’s Sisirya
India has notified the Nepal government that the construction of the ICP on the Nepali side of the border will be completed by March, according to NITDB Executive Director Laxman Bahadur Basnet.
The ICP on the Indian side was completed in July 2016.
The construction of the ICP is expected to ease import and export of goods to and from Nepal, India and third countries.
“Along with the dry port, NITDB will also operate the ICP,” Basnet, who had visited Birjung to oversee the progress of the construction. “A contactor will be appointed for operating the ICP. We will begin this process soon.”
Basnet, however, expressed concern over delays in expansion of a 700m road connecting the ICP with the dry port. “The road needs to be expanded before the ICP comes into operation,” he said.
Finance Secretary Rajan Khanal said the government is making efforts to connect the ICP with Sisirya Dry Port. “We need to acquire barren land plots as well as those with human settlements for expanding the road,” Khanal said, adding a total of 62 bighas of land has to be acquired.
Customs Department Deputy Director General Sri Krishna Nepal said the government has given utmost priority to the ICP project, adding Birjung Customs could account for around 70-80 percent of Nepal’s total exports and imports volume if the ICP and ports are managed well.
Nepal and India had signed an agreement in 2005 for building ICPs in a number of bordering regions like Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj. India has spent around IRs860 million for the construction of the infrastructure in Birgunj. The ICP consists of 22 buildings, including road, yard and compound wall, among other infrastructure.
The construction of ICP on the Nepali side was supposed to be completed in October 2013. But running behind schedule, only 40 percent of construction works was completed at the time. The Indian government later extended the deadline to March 31, 2015. Having missed it too, the contractors extended it for the second time.
Birjung-based industrialists have a number of issues. Om Prakash Sharma, president of Birjung Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said 20 bighas of land allotted for Nepal at the Raxaul railway station has remained idle leading to encroachment. “The government should deal with the issue soon,” Sharma said.
Former President of Birjung Chamber of Commerce and Industry Pradeep Kumar Kedia stressed on the need for initiating dialogue with India for solving problems faced by Nepali importers at Kolkata port. He also urged the government to improve management of Sisirya Dry Port.