BIRATNAGAR, FEB 10 - The government has finally acquired land in Biratnagar to build an integrated check post (ICP). The acquisition was delayed for two years making the Indian government, which is constructing the ICP as a donation, fall behind schedule.
The ICP located on the Nepal-India border will house all the regulatory agencies such as immigration, customs, border security and quarantine along with other facilities including currency exchange, internet and cafeteria. There will be a matching complex on the Indian side of the border.
As per an agreement signed with India, it will construct the ICP with its own resources and Nepal will provide the required land. According to the plan, construction will be completed within two years after Nepal makes the land available. Rosan Shrestha, chief of the Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office, said the government had started the paperwork to hand over the 126-bigha plot to India. The estimated cost of the proposed ICP is Rs 1.31 billion. Land acquisition for the project had been delayed by a dispute over compensation. The government has paid about Rs 140 million as compensation to the landowners. Meanwhile, about 50 percent of the construction work has been completed on the other side of the border in India.
Shrestha said that the government had acquired another 40 bighas of land for Rs 170 million to build a road connecting the check post to the national highway. “We are behind schedule, but it is expected that construction of the ICP will be completed within the next two years,” added Shrestha. If building work had started on schedule, it would have been completed by July 2012.
In 2005, Nepal and India had signed an accord to build ICPs on either side of the border at Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj. India promised to bear the construction costs.
Traders in eastern Nepal have been routing imports from third countries through the roundabout Raxaul border point. “After the ICP is built in Biratnagar, it will not only ease exports and imports but also reduce the costs of trade,”
said Abinas Bohora of the Morang Merchant Association. The distance between Biratnagar and the Indian port of Kolkata is 735 km. The ICP will likely be linked with Indian railways which will facilitate trade with third countries, added Bohora. Raxaul is 900 km from Kolkata, and the distance between Raxaul and Biratnagar is 300 km.
Posted on: 2013-02-11 09:11