KATHMANDU, DEC 11 - Construction of the much talked about Inland Container Depot (ICD) or dry port at Larcha, near Tatopani on the northern border with China, is scheduled to begin next week.
Lack of infrastructure has been identified as one of the bottlenecks to increasing trade with China through Tatopani, and construction of the dry port at Larcha is expected to ease the massive congestion at the customs point.
The ICD is being built with Chinese assistance. According to the Commerce Ministry, Commerce Secretary Lalmani Joshi and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan will jointly lay the foundation stone of the ICD on Dec 20.
All the necessary groundwork like land acquisition, technical and feasibility study, design and infrastructure setting have been completed. The planned ICD is located some 6 km south from the customs office at Tatopani.
The ICD will be spread over 34 hectares and have a capacity to accommodate 200 containers and vehicles. The ICD will also have a border inspection building, cargo warehouse, litigation warehouse and other customs clearance facilities. Beijing Real Estate Group Company will build the depot as agreed between the two countries last May. “Construction of the ICD will definitely help doing business with China,” said Commerce Secretary Lalmani Joshi.
Meanwhile, China has agreed to upgrade the 6.5-km stretch of the highway from the border to Larcha. It will also build a 112-m bridge over the Bhote Koshi River where the dry port is located. After the new ICD becomes operational, the current customs office at Tatopani will be transferred to Larcha, and Chinese trucks bringing goods will come directly to the dry port.
Joshi said he expected freight charges from Tatopani to the rest of Nepal to decrease after the ICD is built.
According to the Commerce Ministry, China has also expressed interest to build another ICD in Rasuwa to the northwest of Kathmandu. However, the Nepal government has not decided anything due to lack of adequate land to build the dry port.
“The cost of the land on which we originally planned to build the ICD has turned out to be very high. We will have to pay more than Rs 600,000 per anna. So we are thinking of building the ICD at some other place,” said Joshi.
Even in Larcha, the government had to pay a higher rate of compensation to the landowners than previously thought.
Posted on: 2012-12-12 08:28