The first meeting of the bilateral oversight mechanism formed to remove bottlenecks in India-funded projects in Nepal is going to take place in Kathmandu next week.
Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae will lead their respective teams that will meet to resolve the problems in India-funded projects for speeding up their implementation.
After widespread criticism that the projects failed to make the expected progress, the new alternative was mooted recently.
Secretary Bairagi said the first meeting to be held on November 29 will prepare a working modality for the oversight mechanism specifying when and how meetings may be held, if visits to project sites are necessary
to identify problems and hiring experts to assess the progress.
In order to prepare its position, the foreign secretary has called a meeting of the line ministries for Tuesday. It will discuss the status of India-funded projects in Nepal, the problems faced and the way out.
On top of the agenda is the Hulaki Road, said a Foreign Ministry official, the project that has the most complaints about.
Next on the list are the long delayed Pancheshwar Multi-purpose Project, completion of the Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar cross-border transmission line, the delay in construction of the Integrated Check Post on the Nepali side of the border, and setting up of the Nepal Police Academy in Panauti.
The two sides will also discuss utilisation of the India-announced $1 billion reconstruction aid and speed up its implementation as agreed during the visits of Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and KP Sharma Oli to India.
During PM Dahal’s recent state visit to New Delhi, the two sides had agreed to form the mechanism that would sit at least once a month with project chiefs, other concerned officials, contractors and stakeholders to resolve any issues hampering the projects.
The Nepali team consists of joint-secretaries from the ministries of Home, Finance, Foreign, Physical Infrastructure and Trans-portation, Commerce and Tourism.
From India the deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, first secretary in charge of the economic wing and the recently appointed official in charge of reconstruction will accompany the Indian ambassador.