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Integrated Check Post in Birgunj set for expansion

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA
The four-month-old facility is unable to handle the volume of commerce passing through

Aug 16, 2018-The Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Birgunj has had to be expanded barely four months after opening as it turned out to be too small for the volume of commerce passing through it. The Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board, which operates the ICP, has allocated a budget of Rs250 million for expansion works for this fiscal year.  

Entrepreneurs, traders and customs agents had warned when the ICP was being built that the facilities would not be adequate to handle cargo movements. The ICP was constructed with a grant from the Indian government.  

The newly-constructed ICP lacks warehouses, custom clearance area, parking yard and quarantine, dormitory and security buildings.

Hemendra Mohan Shahi, chief of the board, said that they had awarded a Rs50 million contract to construct a warehouse and customs clearance room. “The contractor will begin work within a few days,” he said, adding that the warehouse would have a capacity of 3,000 tonnes Currently, there are two small warehouses in the northwestern corner of the ICP. They are spread over 1,374 square metres and can hold six cargo containers each. “We need a large warehouse as this is the country’s busiest and largest customs point,” said Shahi. Lack of space has been creating problems for clearing shipments.

A budget of Rs40.8 million has been allocated for expanding the quarantine and dormitory buildings. Likewise, Rs90.5 million has been set aside for the construction of a kitchen shed and Rs90.8 million for building a gate and security building.

Bids have already been invited for the construction of the building. Due to lack of parking space, trucks are compelled to park on the road. “Congestion problems have appeared at the ICP within four months of operation as the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board did not listen to traders’ suggestions during the construction phase,” said customs agent Shyam Babu Patel.

The building was jointly constructed by Indian contractors KS Softnet Solutions and Nagarjuna Construction Company under the management of an Indian company.

The Indian government constructed the ICP in Nepal and India with the aim of providing customs, immigration, quarantine and border security services under one roof.

The ICP was also envisaged to allow congestion-free inter-country import and export of goods. More than half of Nepal’s export-import trade passes through the ICP.

Published: 16-08-2018 08:39

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