Rasuwagadhi dry port building okayed

- BALRAM GHIMIRE, RASUWA

Jan 23, 2018-

The construction of a dry port in Timure, Rasuwagadhi next to the Chinese border is likely to begin soon with the Commerce Ministry approving the design prepared by a Chinese consultant. The facility, which will be built with Chinese aid, is expected to boost overland trade with the northern neighbour.

Laxman Bahadur Basnet, executive director of the Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) under the Commerce Ministry, okayed the design of the inland port last week. Construction work, according to Basnet, will begin in four months. 

“The Chinese side has said that they will prepare a detailed design in three months and mobilize a contractor a month after that,” added Basnet. 

According to an agreement signed between Nepal and China in April 2015, the northern neighbour will construct the dry port of international standard with integrated inspection building, accommodation building, cargo warehouse, parking lot and flood protection levee before handing it over to the Nepal government. 

The dry port, which will spread over 8 hectares of land, will also have buildings for quarantine lab, banks and security forces, among others. 

The parking lot will be large enough to hold more than 315 trucks and containers, and the warehouse will be build over an area of 750 square meters, according to the design. The project has acquired 8 hectares of land, 5 hectares from Langtang National Park and 3 hectares from private landowners, for the construction of the inland port.

The importance of the Rasuwagadhi customs point as an alternative gateway to China was felt mainly when the Arniko Highway, linking the Chinese border further east, was cut off due to landslides and flooding of the Sunkoshi River in August 2014. 

Following the disaster, a large number of containers filled with imported goods were stranded on the Arniko Highway, bringing commerce with China to a near standstill. 

Following the obstruction on the Arniko Highway, the Commerce Ministry requested the Chinese government on behalf of Nepali traders to allow goods to be imported through the Rasuwagadhi border point. 

Moreover, since the devastating earthquake of April 2015, Nepal has been relying solely on the Rasuwagadhi border point for overland trade with China. With the Chinese government showing no interest in reopening the Tatopani border point, Rasuwagadhi has been the only transit point for trade with China. 

However, trade through Rasuwagadhi has been hindered due to poor infrastructure on the Nepal side. The office building and warehouse of the customs office are in a bad condition. Similarly, the area lacks a border police post and advanced customs check point. 

The quarantine office and the customs administration have been operating from rented premises.

Published: 23-01-2018 08:39

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