Construction crews rushing to finish check post by mid-FebLocals believe the Nepalgunj ICP will expand economic activities and job opportunities in the area.
Construction crews are rushing to finish the integrated check post (ICP) being built on the Nepal-India border in Nepalgunj by mid-February.
The Indian contractor says 80 percent of the physical structures including the quarantine, security check post and parking lot have been completed.
The ICP is being built with the financial support of the Indian government worth IRs2 billion.
Sudeep Jha, engineer of the Federal Level Project Implementation Unit, Nepalgunj says the building company has pledged to complete the work by mid-February.
“So far, 80 percent of the physical structures have been completed. If work continues at this pace, construction will be completed on time," he said. "Construction crews are working round the clock."
The construction company had obtained an extension of the completion deadline from the Indian government saying that it would not be able to get everything ready as planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rajdeep Buildcon won the bid to construct the ICP. The construction company had initially agreed to complete the work within two years.
Recently, the company was given a deadline of January 22, 2023 to get the infrastructure ready. It is working on roads and physical structures.
The materials required for the construction of the truss are being made in Delhi. They are scheduled to arrive in Nepalgunj in around four months. The contractor has completed a road connecting the ICP.
The Nepal government acquired 90 bighas of land for the ICP in the Jaispur area after paying compensation to the landowners, and construction work began.
The Indian government has constructed physical infrastructure by acquiring land on its side of the border. Out of the 90 bighas on the Nepal side, the road has been constructed on 27 bighas.
Work on the ICP started in earnest after the Indian side gave a commitment to implement the project during the visit to India of the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli. Before that, the proposed scheme had lain moribund for almost a decade.
Jaispur, south of Nepalgunj, was chosen as the construction site for the ICP as it was closer to Delhi, India. The ICP will ease imports into Nepal and exports of herbs and other products to India.
According to the implementation unit, a 2.7-km road linking the ICP with Chaulika in Nepalgunj has been constructed. The central government of India is funding the construction of other physical structures. Along with the construction of the ICP, an agreement was reached between Nepal and India to establish an integrated security post.
Traders on both sides of the border believe that various goods can be imported and exported at a lower price due to reduced transportation costs once the ICP is set up. Nepali traders expect the ICP to make it easier for them to export herbs and other products to Indian markets.
Nepalgunj residents think that the construction of the ICP will expand economic activities and employment opportunities in the area.
The project is being implemented with a Rs3.20 billion grant from the Indian government, and is part of the initiative under which India will build a series of integrated check posts at various points on the border to systematise the movement of cross-border cargo trucks.
The Indian portion of the check post in Rupaidiha is being built by the Land Ports Authority of India. Work started in May 2020. India is reported to be constructing 13 integrated check posts with its neighbouring countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan to facilitate bilateral trade.
Nepal and India signed an agreement in 2005 for the construction of integrated check posts in Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj on the Nepal side of the border; and in Raxaul, Jogbani, Sunauli and Rupaidiha on the Indian side to ease trade and transit between the two countries.
Nepalgunj is the fifth largest trading point in Nepal. In the last fiscal year, imports through the Nepalgunj border point amounted to Rs81.6 billion while exports amounted to Rs2.54 billion, according to the Customs Department.
Imports from India to Nepal stood at Rs1.2 trillion in the last fiscal year 2021-22 while exports were valued at Rs155.22 billion, according to the department.