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India Nepal News: India and Nepal give new impetus to cross-border development partnership

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India and Nepal agreed on Saturday to launch a plethora of initiatives that would give a huge boost to the development partnership in all sectors.

The Jaynagar-Kurtha section is part of the Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway link (total length 68.72 km) under construction with a grant of INR 548 cr. of the government of India. M/s IRCON is the executing agency. KRCL.

It is a 35 km railway section, of which 3 km is in the Indian state of Bihar and the rest in Nepal. The section consists of 8 stations viz. Jaynagar in India, Inarwa (border post), Khajuri, Mahinathpur, Baidehi, Parwaha, Janakpur (religiously important) and Kurtha in Nepal.

This will be the first wide-gauge rail link between the two countries, opening up a whole new dimension for cross-border connectivity. Until 2014, it was an existing rail service on a meter gauge rail link between Jaynagar and Janakpur.

The train (capacity: approximately 1000 – seating (300) + standing (700)) is proposed to run at the average speed of 40 km/h for the inaugural journey and will take 1 hour to reach Janakpur/Kurtha. The train will be operated by Nepal Railway Company (NRC), with assistance from KRCL and IRCON.

The Solu Corridor 132 kV Power Transmission Line and Substation Project is one of the major projects in Nepal undertaken under the Indian Government’s line of credit.

It is a 90 km 132 kV double circuit line with a project cost of approx. INR 200 crore. The project was executed by an Indian company, Mohan Energy, under the EPC model.

The line connects the remote districts of Solukhumbu, Khotang and Okhaldhunga in northeastern Nepal to Nepal’s national power grid.

After its operationalization, it will evacuate electricity from existing and future hydroelectric projects in these areas to the national grid, and will also feed the rural electrification networks of these districts. Therefore, it is an important axis of socio-economic development in this largely rural part of Nepal, in addition to contributing to the overall economic and industrial development of Nepal.

India has allocated $50 million in grants for the reconstruction of health facilities/posts in Nepal. As part of this, 132 field health facilities/posts are being constructed in 10 districts of Nepal. The 10 districts are mainly located in the central/northern part of Nepal

This is part of India’s post-earthquake reconstruction assistance to Nepal and follows the recently completed (November 2021) project to rebuild 50,000 homes for those affected by the 2015 earthquake. (After the April 2015 earthquake, the Indian government committed $1 billion, including $250 million as a grant and $750 million as a line of credit, for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal .)

Other projects undertaken as part of the post-earthquake assistance include the reconstruction of 71 educational institutions in 8 districts of Nepal. 28 cultural heritage projects in 7 districts of Nepal are also being restored, of which fieldwork has started for 24.

Nepal SBI Bank (NSBL), a subsidiary of SBI and the largest international bank in Nepal, worked on this project for more than a year and, with the support of the Central Bank of Nepal, was able to make RuPay cards functional on all NSBL POS machines in Nepal. . As a result, the national variant of the RuPay card (about 83% of all RuPay cards issued) will work on about 1,400 POS machines in Nepal.

NSBL POS machines are found in major locations in Nepal including religious sites such as Pashupatinath, Lumbini, Janakpur and Manakamna.

Its launch in Nepal is a milestone in bilateral financial connectivity. It will facilitate bilateral tourist flows, strengthen people-to-people ties and further contribute to establishing RuPay’s international credentials and visibility.

The launch will open a new path to financial convenience and empowerment through the use of technology and innovation. This will not only facilitate payment for RuPay car holders, but also enhance the capabilities of Nepal’s payment ecosystem.

Nepal is now the fourth country outside India where RuPay is live, the others being Bhutan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

Nepal has become the 105th country to sign the ISA framework agreement.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Indian Railways and Nepal Railway Company. The MoU provides for cooperation on capacity building of Nepalese railway personnel through transfer of technology and knowledge, training both in India and by developing training institutes, maintenance depots and workshops in Nepal. as well as technical support for railway systems, operation and maintenance, and cooperation in the IT sector related to rail transport and services.

A joint working group will be established under the MoU to provide guidance and support for the implementation of cooperative activities.

Renewal of the petroleum products supply agreement for a period of five years between Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) and Nepal Oil Corporation Ltd. (NOC)

The two parties had signed an agreement on March 27, 2017 which expired on March 31, 2022. The renewed agreement will remain valid for another five years, i.e. until March 31, 2027.

The agreement takes the form of a framework agreement allowing IOCL to supply petroleum products to NOC, notably through the Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline commissioned in July 2019.

There was an agreement for the sharing of technical expertise between IOCL and NOC. The Agreement is intended to assist the NOC in acquiring technical knowledge and skills in the field of petroleum products, as well as in operating and maintaining the facilities necessary for this purpose.

IOCL will impart training and knowledge to NOC personnel in the areas of aviation, quality control, engineering, pipelines, IT, terminal/depot operations, infrastructure, safety, security, etc.