Inland waterway first on Koshi, Narayani rivers

  • nepal-india meeting
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
India has set up infrastructure in Kalughat and Sahibgunj which Nepal can use for cargo shipment

Jul 16, 2018-Officials from Nepal and India have started talks on launching inland water navigation in Koshi and Narayani rivers from India’s Ganga, a dream project of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

During the visit of Prime Minister Oli to India in April, both the sides had agreed to develop inland water navigation from Indian rivers to Nepal’s border in order to ease cargo and passengers movement and decided to conduct a feasibility study soon. As per the understanding, the first consultative meeting on developing Inland Waterways Connectivity between India and Nepal began in Kathmandu on Sunday where the focus of discussions has been on techno-economic feasibility of various routes and modalities.

During the meeting, it was agreed to develop inland waterways on the two rivers from Ganga. India has already set up infrastructure in Kalughat and Sahibgunj which Nepal can use for cargo shipment up to its border.

“Using the Indian infrastructure, we can easily expand cargo movement up to Nepal border by gradually upgrading the facilities,” said Madhav Belbase, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. Belbase leads the Nepali team at the meeting.

The Indian side briefed on the state of infrastructure on its side and suggested how Nepal could develop it up to the international border in a short span of time.

“In the first phase, we are exploring the possibility on the two rivers,” said Belbase, adding that Karnali would be considered for the purpose in the second phase. The Nepali side is preparing to form a team representing various

ministries and the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry to tour the river infrastructure in north India supporting cargo movement.

Initially, we can bring cargo ships between 300 and 600 metric ton capacity from either river, said Belbase. The facility could be upgraded once operation commences.

If Nepal and India set the procedure for starting inland navigation by amending the Transit Treaty, Nepal will bring cargo from Ganga to these stations first. With the initial consultation, Nepali officials hope inland waterways can be developed without major hassles, he added.

“This new initiative would enable cost effective and efficient movement of cargo,” the pact reached during PM Oli’s India visit read.

Published: 16-07-2018 07:28

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