Today in Kathmandu, the Indian delegation led by Sh Piyush Shrivastava, Joint Secretary (Northern Division) of the Ministry of External Affairs of India co-chaired three Joint Project Monitoring Committee (JPMC) meetings with his counterparts Mr Gopal Sigdel Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal and Mr. Shiv Hari Sharma, Secretary, National Reconstruction Authority, Government of Nepal. The JPMC meetings reviewed three Government of India (GoI) funded projects which included Terai Roads project (10 roads), housing reconstruction project (50,000 houses) and reconstruction in the education sector.
2. GoI funded Terai roads project: In February 2016, Government of India committed NR 800 cr (INR 500 cr) for construction of 10 roads (divided into 14 packages/contracts) with a total length of 306 km in the Terai region of Nepal. These roads connect the East-West Highway to Indian border there by increasing the ease of connectivity between the peoples of two countries. Seven out of the fourteen packages have already been completed. There are few short stretches on these seven roads where work has not been completed due to Right of Way (RoW) issues, including land acquisition and utility shifting issues such as shifting of electricity poles and water pipelines, which are pending for the last three years and to be addressed by GoN. Given the lengthy process of land acquisition and utility shifting, ground situation and local sensitivities and since the completed stretches are already being used for movement of traffic both sides agreed to formally handover/ take over the seven packages.
3. Earlier in May 2016, Governments of India and Nepal had signed a Memorandum to cooperate in implementation and execution of the Project in Nepal and the above 14 packages are part of this understanding between the two sides. Out of GoI committed amount of NR 800 cr an amount of NR 450 cr has already been released to GoN, including the cheque of NR 71 cr (INR 44.35 cr) handed over today.
4. Following the JPMC meeting on Terai Roads, the Committee jointly called on Hon’ble Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport and briefed him on the status of the project and both sides reiterated their commitment to complete the project expeditiously to pass on the benefit to the people of the project region.
5. The completed roads are expected to strengthen the connectivity between India and Nepal particularly in the border areas promoting people to people contact and trade and economic activities between the two countries. The seven completed road packages are as below:
Manmat-Kalaiya-Matiyarwa: Package-I –Bara district– (15 km)
Manmat-Kalaiya-Matiyarwa Road: Package-II –Bara district– (11.66 km)
Tamagadhi-Simraungadh Road: Package-II – Bara district– (19.75 km)
Maisthan-Gaushala bazaar- Samsi Road – Mahottari District– (26.95 km)
Janakpur-Yadukuha – Dhanusha district – (16.63 km)
Birendrabazar-Yadukuha-Mahinathpur: Package – I – Dhanusha District– (17 km)
Kalyanpur-Barsain-Subhranpatti – Saptari District- (17.28 km)
India and Nepal review progress of Post-earthquake Reconstruction projects
7. India and Nepal also held the Joint Project Monitoring Committee meetings to review the progress of GoI supported Post-Earthquake reconstruction on 8 March 2020 in Kathmandu. This is an important bilateral mechanism to review the entire gamut of India’s post- earthquake reconstruction assistance of US $ 1 billion to Nepal.
8. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Shiv Hari Sharma, Secretary, National Reconstruction Authority, Government of Nepal. The Indian delegation was led by Mr. Piyush Srivastava, Joint Secretary (North), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
9. The meeting recalled commitments made at the highest political level for implementation of GoI supported post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in four sectors – Housing, Education, Culture and Health in Nepal. The meeting noted with satisfaction that the Prime Ministers of both the countries had witnessed, via video conferencing, the remarkable progress in Government of India assisted post-earthquake housing reconstruction project in Nepal on 21 January 2020 by video conference. Similarly, in Education sector, the meeting expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in reconstruction of multi hazard and disaster resilient 70 schools and 1 library in Nepal.
10. The Nepali side conveyed its appreciation for the support of the Government of India for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal. Both sides reiterated to work together to expedite progress in implementation of reconstruction projects.
11. The meeting was held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere with both the delegations agreeing that the next JPMC meeting would be held on a mutually convenient date.
Report by Randhir Chowdhary (Kathmandu)