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ICP Birgunj to come into operation by end of this year

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Kathmandu

The Integrated Check Post (ICP) in Birgunj that is being constructed under the Indian government’s assistance will finally come into operation by the end of this year. Construction of the ICP that started in April 2011 has taken more than the scheduled time and has missed the deadline several times. However, ICP on the Indian side was completed about a year back and its launch has been postponed as ICP in Birgunj is yet to be completed.

The ICP Birgunj, being constructed by an Indian contractor, was supposed to have been completed by March this year as a meeting of senior officials of Nepal and India held in December 2016, in Kathmandu, had given a deadline of March for the ICP to be completed. However, the contractor will not be excused for any further delay as the operationalisation of ICP Birgunj by the end of this year has been talked about during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s recent visit to India.

Both the Nepali and Indian prime ministers had recently welcomed the contract award for construction of Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar and also directed the respective officials to complete the construction and operationalise the ICP Birgunj by December 2017. The two prime ministers underlined the need for early approval of Detailed Engineering Designs of ICPs at Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj during Prime Minister Deuba’s recent visit to India.

Along with the construction of the ICP Birgunj, preparatory works of other ICPs are also expected to gather momentum because the Indian government has also been providing due priority to them. Nepal and India have planned to build ICPs on their respective sides at ports of entry in Birgunj, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.

Though Nepal and India had signed a memorandum of understanding in 2005 for the construction of ICPs at four majorborder points along the India-Nepal border, namely Birgunj (Nepal)-Raxaul (India), Biratnagar (Nepal)-Jogbani (India), Bhairahawa (Nepal)-Sunauli (India) and Nepalgunj (Nepal)-Nepalgunj Road (India), preparatory works like land acquisition and detailed designs of the Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj ICPs are yet to gather pace.

Under the agreement, Nepal needs to just provide the required land for the ICP and the rest of the cost of ICP construction will be borne by the government of India. Nepal government has already provided 129 bighasof land to the Indian government for construction of ICP in Biratnagar.

The southern neighbour has agreed to extend grant assistance for ICPs considering Nepal’s dependency on India for import and export of goods, which is about two-third of the country’s total trade.


 September 05, 2017