National

Nepal, India work on PM’s visit

  • Final agenda of the tour to be set in course of consultations by the DPM who landed in New Delhi on Thursday
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Aug 19, 2016-

Nepal and India are making preparations for Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s state visit to New Delhi possibly to begin on September 15.

Final decisions about the trip will be made during the visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi, who left for New Delhi on Thursday as the special representative of the government.

India, which has expressed its interest to work with the new government led by Dahal, is preparing to provide assistance for some big-ticket projects proposed by Nepal.

Top officials told the Post that some of the areas of cooperation to be discussed during the PM’s visit have already been shared with the Indian side while DPM Nidhi will discuss them further in New Delhi during his meetings with top Indian leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Among Nepal’s proposals are setting up a state of the art polytechnic institute in Chitwan, which is the home district of PM Dahal, with Indian assistance, said sources. Dahal is said to be interested to visit Bangalore, the IT hub of India, where he will tour one of the polytechnic institutes.

India will also gift a sophisticated chopper to the Nepal Army for domestic use by the PM. Another major agenda of the visit is India’s assistance for filling the financial gap in aiding the earthquake survivors to rebuild their homes.

The government has already decided to release Rs200,000 for each homeless family in three tranches. Amid criticism that the amount is inadequate to build quake-resistant houses, the government is considering providing another Rs100,000 for the needy.

“To bridge the gap, the government may require around Rs50 billion in cash. We are going to request India to meet the shortfall,” said an official privy to the PM’s agenda. The list of desired assistance also included developing a Buddhist circuit between Nepal and India that links

key Buddhist sites. Besides, India would also install a sound and lighting system in Lumbini to illuminate the Buddha’s birthplace.

During the visit, India and Nepal will sign a memorandum of understanding for developing the much delayed Pancheshwar Hydropower Project (3,600 megawatt), agreeing on its detailed project report and sorting the technical and administrative problems faced in implementing the project.

On the Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, PM Dahal has requested the Indian side not to raise the matter this time around as he faces opposition at home in allowing an Indian firm to construct it.

Other proposals include granting visas for Nepalis to visit India from a third country. India is also expected to chip in more funds to reconstruct and upgrade the Pashupatinath temple area.

The Nepal Police Academy said to be set up with India’s help, which has been stalled due to some administrative and technical issues, will get through this time, officials said.

Nepal and India will sign an understanding on controlling drug trafficking. Two semi-state-owned media outlets of Nepal and India—Nepal Television and Doordarshan—are slated to sign an agreement mainly on content sharing.

Published: 19-08-2016 08:37

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