ICD, expo centre project expected to move faster

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 16, 2017-Construction of an inland container depot (ICD) and world class exhibition centre at Chobhar is expected to be expedited with the Cabinet officially handing over the land to the Ministry of Commerce on Friday.

The planned construction site at the southwestern edge of the Kathmandu Valley was formally occupied by Himal Cement Factory which closed down in 2002. The ministry had been holding back construction citing lack of sufficient paperwork.

In 2010, the government signed an agreement paper with the World Bank to build the ICD and exhibition centre which were slated to be completed in 2019. However, the project has lain in limbo since then due to delays in transferring the title and issues related to eviction of squatters on the property. The ministry only recently started dismantling the disused cement plant and preparing the design and demarcating the land.

Commerce Minister Meen Bahadur Bishwakarma said that a Cabinet meeting on Friday had agreed to hand over the property to the ministry. “More than 1,000 ropanis of land formerly occupied by Himal Cement Factory has now been officially transferred to the ministry, and we have decided to expedite the construction work,” he said. 

Minister Bishwakarma said 200 ropanis would be used to build the dry port and the rest of the land would be used for the exhibition centre. According to him, the squatters who have been living on the property have also been relocated. 

The ICD and exhibition centre are part of the Nepal-India Regional Trade and Transport Project under which the World Bank has provided $15.5 million to the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board, the ministry said. The estimated cost of the construction project is Rs1.5 billion. The dry port will be built with a Rs1.2 billion loan from the multilateral donor agency. Minister Bishwakarma said the government had decided to construct the ICD due to the growing movement of cargo vehicles in the Capital. “After the ICD comes into operation, shipments from India can be transported directly to the customs in Kathmandu. This will reduce hassles to importers and traffic congestion in the Valley,” he said. 

Traders, freight forwarders and transporters currently face severe difficulties due to lack of warehouse facilities and parking space for trucks which has increased transport costs and waiting times. 

Published: 16-10-2017 08:31

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