India delays road upgradation processIndia has failed to implement a provision in an agreement signed during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to New Delhi in August 2017 which is delaying the process of upgrading a road segment that stretches from Gauriphanta to Palia in India.
India has failed to implement a provision in an agreement signed during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to New Delhi in August 2017 which is delaying the process of upgrading a road segment that stretches from Gauriphanta to Palia in India.
The 23-km road from Palia to Gauriphanta in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is single lane and in a dilapidated state. Early renovation of the road segment is critical for Nepali traders as it has been creating a bottleneck for those importing and exporting goods via Trinagar of Dhangadhi in Nepal.
During PM Deuba’s visit to New Delhi, the Indian government had agreed to upgrade Gauriphanta-Palia segment into a corridor of international standard. To implement this agreement, both the countries had agreed to hold a foreign secretary-level meeting within 2017. But that meeting is yet to be held.
“If the road is upgraded, we do not have to rely on other customs offices to import raw materials,” said industrialist Rajendra Agrawal. Currently, raw materials imported from countries other than India first land in Indian seaports. Then they are ferried to customs offices in Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa, which are linked with better road networks. “This has been raising our transportation cost and creating hassles to traders as well,” said Agrawal.
Shankar Bogati, chairman of the Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The private sector had lobbied for quite some time to include the road upgradation agenda in the discussion between prime ministers of the two countries. But its implementation is yet to begin.”
The chamber of commerce recently handed over memorandums to Commerce Minister Meen Bahadur Bishwakarma and Indian Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath to expedite the road upgradation process.
Another problem facing importers and exporters of far western Nepal is lack of quarantine facilities in Gauriphanta, a bordering Indian town.
Due to the lack of quarantine facilities, inspection of animals, agricultural produce and industrial materials cannot be performed properly, traders said. This has prompted many entrepreneurs in Dhangadhi to import materials through customs points located in Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Birgunj, which is raising trading cost and delaying delivery of goods.