Execution of pacts with India picks up pace

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Ministry forms a panel to carry out study on inland water navigations in Nepali rivers leading up to Indian sea ports

Jun 3, 2018-The understandings reached between Nepal and India during the state visit exchanges of Prime Minister KP Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have gained momentum. Both sides have activated their bilateral mechanisms to ensure that the agreements between the two countries are honoured, according to officials.

Several pacts and understandings, including implementation of past agreements and conducting surveys of waterways and railways, were signed during the visit of PM Oli to India. Similarly, during PM Modi’s Nepal visit, the two sides had agreed to resolve all disputed issues by September 19.

Officials from both the countries are finding common grounds on various

disputed issues while some progress has been made on executing the new pacts, officials said.

The Energy Ministry on Thursday formed a panel to carry out study on inland water navigations in Nepali rivers leading up to Indian sea ports.

The six-member panel, led by Joint-secretary Madhav Prasad Belbase, will have representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, energy, physical infrastructure and transportation, commerce, and the Water and Energy Secretariat.

The panel, in coordination with Indian side, will conduct feasibility study for water navigation system in three rivers Koshi, Narayani (Gandak) and Karnali.

On the Indian said, the Inland Waterways Authority of India has been put to the task of conducting study on inland water navigation system between India and Nepal.

After completing the feasibility study, the joint panels will submit their reports to both the governments.

The inland water navigation system will likely start in Koshi River from India’s Kalughat in Bihar where the southern neighbour has constructed a port and is upgrading its infrastructure, said an official.

“It won’t take more than a year to complete the process and start inland water navigation,” said the official, adding that another possible river for navigation is Karnali.

The Indian team will also conduct a feasibility study in Hanumannagar in the east and Balmiki Nagar in the west for inland water navigation.

Nepal and India have already exchanged texts for undertaking survey for the Raxual-Kathmandu railway. The MoU will be signed shortly, said Bhrighu Dhungana, joint-secretary at the Foreign Ministry.

Officials for the Indian Railway Department visited the proposed project site recently.

“We are expecting that an MoU will be signed to carry out the field survey within June,” said a Foreign Ministry official.

Meanwhile, agriculture ministers from the two countries are also due to meet in New Delhi to expedite the MoU signed during the India visit of PM Oli.

The meeting will take place between June 19 and 22, discussing four proposed areas of cooperation.

During Oli’s India visit, the Indian government had agreed to extend support to organic farming, research and development, soil testing and easy import of chemical fertiliser from the south.

The stalled meeting of Nepal-India Joint Commission of foreign ministers is also expected to convene shortly, said officials.

The meeting of the commission, mandated to look after all bilateral issues, has not taken place since October 2016.

Published: 03-06-2018 07:48

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