ICP construction moves ahead at snail’s paceThe construction of Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Bhediyari of Biratnagar, slated to be completed by December, is moving ahead at snail’s pace due to delay made by the contractor.
The construction of Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Bhediyari of Biratnagar, slated to be completed by December, is moving ahead at snail’s pace due to delay made by the contractor.
The government, in December, 2016, had allotted 169 bighas of land for construction of the ICP, being built at a cost of around Rs2.1 billion through Indian government’s support. But so far only main administrative building has been built, whereas foundations of entry and exit ways, storage house, security check post, canteen, chilling centre, quarantine check post and laboratories have not been laid.
However, construction of the same infrastructure on the Indian territory is about to be completed.
“We have already disbursed Rs300 million in compensation to locals to acquire 40 bigahas of land. But the contracting company, Dineshchandra R. Agrawal Infracon Pvt Ltd of Ahmedabad, India, has only completed 17.9 percent of the work so far,” said Shyam Kishor Singh, head of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction Biratnagar Division Office.
An employee of the contracting company Sandip Goyal said floods of August, 2017 delayed the ICP construction work by four months. “We have, however, set a target of completing all the works by the end of 2018,” he said.
The government must ramp up construction of ICP as trade volume is increasing day by day due to high demand of various commodities, according to Mukesh Upadyaya, president of the Chamber of Industries Morang. “We believe the new ICP would remove various hassles related to customs clearance and quarantine checks,” Upadyaya said.
The new ICP is also expected to reduce traffic congestion caused by pedestrians, small vehicles and cargo vehicles, Morang Merchant Association President Pawan Sarada said. “This problem is increasing our costs as it takes up to two days to clear one cargo vehicle,” Sarada said.
The problem of traffic congestion at Biratnagar Customs Office has prompted some of the traders to reroute their cargo vehicles via Birgunj Customs Office. The distance between Kolkata, Birgunj and Biratnagar is 1200 km, whereas distance between Kolkata and Biratnagar Customs Office is only 735 km.
If the new ICP is built at Biratnagar border point, cost of raw materials and commodities would come down, as customs clearance works would be expedited, traders said. This will provide relief to over 500 manufacturing firms that have set up bases in Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor and promote Nepal’s trade with India and third countries.
Nepal and India had reached an agreement in 2005 to build ICPs at border points of Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj. But so far only one ICP has been built on border point in Birgunj. According to an initial agreement, the Indian government would build the entire infrastructure of ICPs and hand them over to the government of Nepal.
Once ICPs come into operation, a number of services related customs clearance and immigration would be provided through a single roof. The ICPs will also house warehouse, parking yard, office building, security yard, litigation shed, quarantine post and check post.