Im­prov­ing In­fra­struc­ture

Southasia - - 13 -

Nepal and In­dia re­cently re­viewed joint plans for a Rs. 100 crore pipe­line project that will sup­ply petroleum prod­ucts from Raxaul, Bi­har to Am­lekhgunj in Nepal. The project, pro­posed in 2009, was to ini­tially cost Rs 84 crore but with in­fla­tion is es­ti­mated at Rs 100 crore to­day. The two coun­tries were rep­re­sented by In­dia’s Com­merce Sec­re­tary, Rahul Khullar, lead­ing a 16 mem­ber team and his Nepalese coun­ter­part Pu­rushot­tam Ojha, lead­ing a 15 mem­ber Nepalese del­e­ga­tion. The two sides met for a two-day long dis­cus­sion in New Delhi.

The pipe­line is ex­pected to dras­ti­cally re­duce trans­porta­tion costs, by up to 40 per­cent and boost bi­lat­eral trade. In­dia is Nepal’s largest trad­ing part­ner with trade stand­ing at USD 2.7 bil­lion in 2010-2011. Land locked Nepal faces se­vere fuel short­age and is very ea­ger to see the project suc­ceed. The coun­try has sought in­creased in­vest­ment from In­dia but much needs to be achieved in terms of re­sources and funds be­fore the project can re­al­is­ti­cally start.

Apart from dis­cussing the gas pipe­line, the del­e­gates also signed an agree­ment en­hanc­ing bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment in var­i­ous in­fra­struc­ture projects. In­dia was keen to show its com­mit­ment and in­vest in hy­del power gen­er­a­tion. The open­ing of Vishaka­p­at­nam Port and sim­pli­fy­ing pro­ce­dures at the Kolkata port for Nepali traders by abol­ish­ing the Duty Re­fund Pro­ce­dure (DRP) were also dis­cussed dur­ing the meet­ing.

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