KATHMANDU, Oct 28: The Nepal-India Joint Commission has finalized the projects for utilization of grants and loans offered by the government of India, for reconstruction work in areas that were worst hit by earthquake in April and May, 2015.
A meeting of the joint commission that concluded in New Delhi on Thursday, decided to clear the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for roads, the Mahakali bridge and irrigation works to be implemented through the concessional loan provided by the Indian government in 2014.
The two sides decided on expeditious completion of phase I of the Terai roads, availing of new concessional loans for the development of Terai roads phase II and some other projects; early completion of two ongoing cross-border railway link projects, namely Biratnagar-Jogbani and Bardibas-Bijalpura-Jaynagar; and initiation of work on three other agreed cross-border rail link projects, namely Nepalgunj-Nepalgunj Road (Kohalpur), Kakarbhitta-New Jalpaiguri and Bhairahawa-Nautanawa.
Similarly, other decisions taken are to complete work on the integrated checkpost at Birgunj, commence construction at the integrated checkpost at Biratnagar, and start early on the implementation of the Hetauda Polytechnic.
“In order to ensure the expeditious implementation of all ongoing bilateral cooperation projects, the Joint Commission decided to convene within a month the first meeting of the joint oversight mechanism of officials of both governments,” reads a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On bilateral trade, the Nepali side requested India to take concrete measures to enhance Nepal's export to India by addressing the concerns related to additional duties and charges, quantitative restrictions and rules of origin. Both sides agreed to expedite finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Meteorology and the Bureau of Indian Standards.
On Nepal's request for additional air entry routes, the Joint Commission directed the concerned civil aviation authorities to deal with the matter at the next meeting by the end of 2016, it said.
Similarly, on Nepal's request for operation of the free market provision contained in the Power Trade Agreement signed in 2014, the Indian side conveyed that it would soon notify about the new cross-border regulations and guidelines on trade in power, the statement further reads.
Both sides agreed to complete the examination of the draft DPR of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project to start further action.
“On construction of the remaining irrigation facility on the Nepal side as per the Gandak Agreement, it was agreed to take required action after the Government of Nepal provides the DPR,” reads the agreement. “It was also agreed that a joint team of experts would inspect and submit a report to address the problems of siltation, design and operation of the Gandak irrigation facility.”
The Nepali side stressed the need for early completion of the link canal and head regulator at Tanakpur barrage for the discharge of water to Nepal as per the provisions of the Mahakali Treaty. The Indian side conveyed that the project report would be finalized soon.
On Nepal's request for the synchronization of customs and connectivity at the ICD (inland container depot) Dodhara-Chandani, and the border points at Dodhara-Chandani-Khatima and Dhangadhi-Gauriphanta, the meeting directed that a joint team be sent to visit the sites and prepare a report for this purpose.
In order to address the issue of inundation of border villages and towns in Nepal due to roads and infrastructure built in Indian Territory, both sides agreed to undertake joint inspections of specific places.
The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat from the Nepali side and Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar from the Indian side.