Roads to China border top budget priorityWith the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) already signed between Nepal and China, the new budget will have connecting northern border points with the rest of the country on high priority list.
With the Transit Transport Agreement (TTA) already signed between Nepal and China, the new budget will have connecting northern border points with the rest of the country on high priority list.
According to officials at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and National Planning Commission (NPC), five roads connecting northern border points will get significant resources in the upcoming budget which will be presented on May 28.
The roads that are on priority list include Biratnagar-Kimathanka, Mustang-Korala, the Karnali corridor connecting Hilsa, Galchhi-Syaphrubeshi-Rasuwagadhi and Kathmandu-Tatopani.
“We are yet to decide the amount, but these road projects will get more budget this fiscal than they got last fiscal,” said Govinda Nepal, chief economic adviser at the MoF.
The TTA signed between Nepal and China during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s China visit in March this year gives Nepal an alternative to do foreign trade with third countries through China. Nepal presently relies on Indian routes for its third-country trade.
Following the crisis the country faced in the wake of over four-month-long border blockade, the government was exploring ways to diversify trade and focus was on developing infrastructure at northern border points.
According to the officials who are involved in preparing the budget, as the Transit Transport Agreement now gives an option to Nepal to do trade through China, priority will be given to develop roads that link to Chinese border points.
“We have given high priority to these road projects as we want to increase trade with China and with other countries through China,” said Nepal.
As of now, Rasuwagadhi border in Rasuwa is connected with road. The border point has emerged as an alternative inland trade route after Tatopani border point was closed for one year after the earthquake.
The Chinese side has opened Tatopani border point temporarily to clear Nepal-bound goods that are stuck in Khasa.
As per the five-year strategic plan recently released by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, the 82-km road from Galchhi to Rasuwagadhi will be black-topped and upgraded within the next two years.
As far as Korala border point in Mustang is concerned, it is currently connected with road with only limited operation.
As per the strategic plan, the 100-km Jomsom-Korala rough road will be gravelled within next two years.
Kimathanka in Sankhuwasabha has not been connected with road so far. The government has plans to complete detailed project report of the 212-km Dhankuta-Khandbari-Kimathanka road within a year and aims to upgrade it to two-lane road in another four years.
Under the Karnali corridor, a road is under construction from bordering Hilsa to district headquarters of Humla.