Tuesday, 23 July, 2024
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EDITORIAL

Vital ICP Operation



It is heartening to note that the Biratnagar-based Integrated Check Post (ICP) has come into operation. This is the second facility of its kind after the one in Birgunj. The newly-built ICP was formally inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi through a live video conference on Tuesday. Prime Minister Oli from Singha Durbar and Indian Prime Minister Modi from New Delhi threw the momentous project open by pressing a switch simultaneously. The Government of India handed over the check post to the Government of Nepal upon its completion. The ICP was built in Biratnagar with an assistance of Rs. 2.24 billion from India. With the official opening of the ICP, all the customs clearance tasks of the Biratnagar Customs Office will now be conducted from the check post. Its operation is expected to help ease the movement of goods and people and reduce the traffic congestion at the Nepal-India border of Jogbani.

Lying to the east of the Biratnagar Customs Office in Biratnagar Metropolitan City-18, the ICP stretches in 129 bighas of land. The two neighbours had agreed to construct this ICP about 15 years back. However, the construction works began only in 2016. Inaugurating the vital project, Prime Minister Oli said that operationalisation of the ICP in Biratnagar, which has all the modern facilities, including warehousing, customs and immigration, would be instrumental in facilitating the cross-border trade and movement of people. PM Oli said that the relations between Nepal and India had gained heights in recent years. He emphasised the need for the two friendly neighbours to continue the good cooperative relationship and partnership even in the days to come for the mutual benefit of the nations and their peoples. He further said that Nepal was ready work with India in that connection as the two nations were very close geographically, historically, traditionally and culturally. Saying that Nepal was working together with her southern neighbour in a spirit of friendship, Oli said that the two nations could extend the scope and substance of bilateral relations. He added that the existence of stable and majority governments in both nations was an opportune moment to boost bilateral cooperation and resolve all the pending issues through dialogue.

The two leaders also witnessed the progress in the reconstruction of 50,000 private houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts. The quake-resilient houses were constructed with India's grant of US$ 100 million and US$ 50 million soft loan. Prime Minister Oli said that inauguration of the two flagship projects—ICP in Biratnagar and the private houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts—was a testimony of the close friendly ties between the two nations. He also invited his Indian counterpart Modi to visit Nepal. Earlier in September last year, the two prime ministers had jointly inaugurated the Motihari-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline Project while the Integrated Customs Check Post based in Birgunj opened in April 2018. Meanwhile, terming the ICP in Biratnagar as a symbol of partnership between the two nations, Indian Prime Minister Modi hoped that it would improve connectivity and facilitate bilateral trade. He also said that such integrated check posts would be developed in other places as well.