Works on ICD construction set to begin in Chobhar

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 3, 2017-

The government has begun work to construct an inland clearance depot (ICD) at Chobhar at the southwestern edge of the Kathmandu Valley. 

Cargoes are planned to be transported directly to the ICD from Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam ports in India. 

The proposed site for the ICD was formerly occupied by Himal Cement Factory. After the plant closed in 2002, the government decided to build an ICD and international standard exhibition centre there. More than 200 ropanis out of the total 1,000 ropanis of land will be used to build the ICD, the exhibition centre will occupy the rest. 

Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board, said that about 80 percent of the cement factory had been dismantled so far. “We have started the design and demarcation work,” he added.

Basnet said that the ICD would help reduce the cost of trading. According to him, third country imports arriving at Indian ports would be transported directly to the ICD. “As per the agreement with the Indian government, port authorities will install additional locks on the containers which will be opened only after arrival at the final destination, the ICD at Chobhar,” he said. The World Bank has provided $15.5 million to the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board for the development of the ICD through its Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project. 

Although the government had decided to construct the ICD some five years ago, problems in removing squatters delayed the project’s progress. The World Bank had even warned the government that it could cancel the project due to the delays. 

“We will be evicting the squatters soon,” said Basnet, adding that the government had fixed the compensation amount to be provided to some of the affected people.

The government had acquired 285 houses in the Chobhar area when it decided to establish the cement factory more than four decades ago. The cement factory was built in 1974 as a gift from the German government. The factory was shut down after three decades due to mismanagement and environmental concerns. The government decided to close down the factory following protests by locals over pollution. A study also showed that 50 percent of the air pollution in the Kathmandu Valley was caused by the cement plant.

 

Published: 03-06-2017 08:12

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