Postal Road tops agenda for Oli’s New Delhi visit

- Devendra Bhattarai, NEW DELHI

Feb 18, 2016-

Nepal and India are set to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of Postal Road in the Tarai during upcoming India visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. 

India had expressed a written commitment to build nearly 1,700km long road a decade ago. Although constructed works began in 2010 after the signing of a bilateral agreement in 2007, the project has failed to make progress due to negligence of the contractors.  

“The Postal Road has been prioritised for the development of Tarai/Madhes by expanding road network,” Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay told the Post. 

According to a diplomat, officials from both the countries have been preparing the new MoU keeping in view that the construction of the road will spur development activities in the Tarai. The two countries will reach an agreement during Oli’s visit, the diplomat confirmed. 

“The new MoU has been drafted with a provision which says Nepal will build around 600km road in the first phase under the Indian financial assistance. A bidding process has already been initiated for the construction of 350km road. The construction will be started shortly,” Director General of the Department of Roads Madhav Karki told the Post over the phone. He informed that discussion was being held on expand the road to double lane in the new MoU. 

The cost of the first phase of road construction is estimated to increase to IRs9 billion from IRs7billion. The total project cost will also rise from the previous estimate of IRs 29 billion. Around 130 bridges have to built along the highway. 

“The previous MoU has a provision that says the project consultant has to be an Indian company. We have informed them [Indian side] about the legal provision that prohibits the appointment of foreign consultant in Nepal. We have decided to keep a joint consultant team in the agreement,” said Karki. 


‘PM to stay in Rashtrapati Bhawan’



Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is embarking on a state visit of India from 19 to 24 February at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, will be staying at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi as a state guest, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, Minister for Finance Bishnu Prasad Paudel, Minister for Home Affairs Shakti Bahadur Basnet, and his chief Bishnu Prasad Rimal, Chief Advisor to PM  will be part of the 46-member Nepali delegation. The PM will attend a reception to be hosted by Nepali Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyaya to mark the 66th National Democracy Day at the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi on Friday, the ministry said in a statement.

On Saturday, the PM will attend a ceremonial reception and inspect a Guard of Honour at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. He will then pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. Later in the day, Oli will hold an official meeting on matters of mutual interests with Indian PM Modi at Hyderabad House. Following the meeting, Modi will host a luncheon in honour of PM Oli and the Nepali delegation. While in New Delhi, PM Oli will also call on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the Foreign Ministry statement said, adding that he is scheduled to address the Indian Council of World Affairs at Sapru House and a function of the Indian business community. He will also attend an interaction programme with prominent Indian media and Nepali community.

PM Oli will inspect Tehri Hydropower Project site in Uttarakhand and visit Bhuj in Gujarat where he will observe the post-earthquake reconstruction works.

Published: 18-02-2016 07:31

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