JANAKPUR, May 2: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to arrive directly in Janakpur and then reach Muktinath before flying on to Kathmandu during his upcoming Nepal visit.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who visited Janakpur on Tuesday to oversee security and logistical arrangements for the Modi visit, said preparations are underway to receive the Indian prime minister in Janakpur. Modi will arrive in Janakpur by a special army helicopter from Patna, the capital of the Indian state of Bihar, on May 11.
According to Thapa, Modi is scheduled to offer prayers at Janaki Temple and will then attend a civic reception to be organized by the people of Janakpur at Barhabigha grounds before flying on to Muktinath .
Nepal and India are yet to officially announce Modi's visit to Nepal . "Prime Minister Modi's plans to visit Janaki and Muktinath Temples are not new. As these could not materialize before due to technical difficulties, his upcoming visit to Nepal is a purely religious tour," Thapa told journalists gathered at District Police Office, Dhanusha.
Minister Thapa said Modi's religious tour holds special significance as it will show that relations between Nepal and India have further strengthened, coming as it does after Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's state visit to India last month.
As per preliminary plans, Modi's helicopter will land at Barhabigha grounds- half a kilometer from Janaki Temple. He will offer prayers at the temple and return to Barhahigha grounds, where a civic reception will await him.
Prime Minister Modi will then fly to Muktinath and arrive in Kathmandu for meetings with his Nepali counterpart. He will spend the night in the capital before flying back home.
Thapa said the provincial government in coordination with the federal government is making all necessary preparations for the visit of the Indian prime minister. "All preparations for the visit are being taken care of by the provincial government. Our prime minister is also likely to arrive in Janakpur to welcome Prime Minister Modi. But a clear itinerary regarding this is yet to be worked out," he further said.
Arguing that the Modi visit is a matter of national pride, Minister Thapa has directed one and all to leave no stone unturned to welcome the Indian prime minister.
Thapa took stock of the situation at Barhabigha grounds, Janaki Temple and the way to the temple. After offering prayers at the temple for about 10 minutes, Thapa reached District Police Office, Dhanusha to direct security officials over security arrangements. He also directed officials to tackle the problem of waterlogging at Barhabigha and to repair the roads.
The chief minister and other ministers of Province 2 reached Barhabigha shortly before Thapa flew to Hetauda for a province-level security conference. Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut complained that the federal government had not coordinated with the provincial government in the preparations for the Modi visit .
They claimed that they were not informed about Thapa's visit to Janakpur before his arrival there.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Raut, other ministers of Province 2 government and Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan Office are working day and night on preparations for the Modi visit. On Monday, Janakpur Sub-metropolitan City organized an all-party meeting to make the visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi a huge success.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa (R) during an inspection visit to Janakpur. Photo: Republica