Koshi Corridor: New hopes for north-south highway

Published On: October 17, 2019 09:39 AM NPT By: Rohit Rai

DHARAN, Oct 17: It has already been more than a decade since the government started constructing the Koshi Highway connecting Jogbani in the southern border to Kimathanka in the northern border. But there has been no sign of progress so far.

With the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal, there are high hopes that things will progress.

In a joint statement issued after the visit, development of the Koshi Highway into Koshi Economic Corridor has been included, to the delight of people's representatives, industrialists, and businesspersons. 

The progress of Koshi Highway connecting India and China via the districts of Province 1 of Nepal has been extremely slow. But with the announcement of developing Koshi Economic Corridor, the stakeholders hope that the construction work will take pace. 

The provincial government of Province 1 is much anticipating the operation of the Jogbani-Kimathanka road, which will considerably shorten the distance between the Indian and Chinese borders. Both the government officials and entrepreneurs have high hopes of reaping the benefits of using the Kimathanka checkpoint, which will be possible with the operation of the road.

"The joint statement states that Jogbani-Kimathanka road will be developed as Koshi Economic Corridor. This will help Sankhuwasabha district as well as the entire Province 1 in terms of economic development," said Rajendra Gautam, lawmaker from Sankhuwasabha, "Along with connectivity, it is important for development." 

According to Gautam, operation of the road and start of the Kimathanka checkpoint will spur revenue growth, infrastructure development, establishment of industries, and employment creation.       
The track of Jogbani-Kimathanka road, which is yet to be developed into a proper highway, is about 14 kilometers away from being connected to China through the Kimathanka border point, which lies in Sankhuwasabha district. 

The government has given the responsibility of opening the track to Nepal Army. The Rani-Tarhara section of the road is being developed as a six-lane road.

"Operation of the highway will connect our two big neighbors, and it will also help us," said Kishor Pradhan, Central Vice-President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry. "However, only two-lane track is opened in Sankhuwasabha, which should be at least four-lane." Pradhan also suggested the government to expedite works and ensure good governance. 

According to Giridhari Sapkota, chairperson of Sunsari Chamber of Commerce & Industries Dharan, “Not only Province 1, but the entire nation will be benefited from the corridor.”

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