KATHMANDU, March 6: The construction of the integrated check post (ICP) in Bhairahawa, which has been put on hold for the past 18 years, has started after the Nepali authorities finalized the land acquisition towards the Nepal side of the border.
According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, the government handed over the acquired land to the Indian side for construction of the ICP. The infrastructure of the ICP, which is expected to facilitate trade between the two countries, will spread across 35.11 hectares of land.
Nepal and India signed an agreement in 2005 for the construction of integrated check posts at various border points including the Birgunj-Raxaul, Biratnagar-Jogbani, Bhairahawa-Sunauli and Nepalgunj-Rupaidiya border points. As per the accord, the Indian government has agreed to bear all the construction costs while Nepal is needed to provide the land required for the check posts.
Of the planned infrastructures along the Nepal-India border, the ICP in Birgunj-Raxaul came into operation in May 2018. The construction of the ICP in Nepalgunj-Rupaidiya was started in March of the same year and is in the final stage of completion. Biratnagar-Jogbani check post started its full-fledged operation in January 2020.
The ICPs are considered one of the important trade logistics and are expected to facilitate trade between Nepal, India and other countries. They are also expected to reduce the cost of cross border trade. They offer warehouses, customs yards, banks, quarantines and laboratories, among others, for the traders under a single roof.
Bidur Khadka, chief of Bhairahawa-based ICP Project, said the Nepali side handed over the land area to the Indian construction company KSM Bashir Mohd and Sons, Lucknow. According to him, the Indian contractor has started construction of the warehouse, office and staffs’ official residence.
According to traders, the infrastructure will help end the problem of traffic congestion that is taking place on the premises of the office of the Bhairahawa Customs. Likewise, it is also expected to remove the hassle for importers and exporters who are compelled to take their goods either to Kolkata in India or Kathmandu in Nepal for lab testing of the farm products.
The cost of the Bhairahawa-Sunauli ICP is projected to stand at INR 1.61 billion. As per the agreement, the Indian contractor will hand over the infrastructure in the next two years.