India and Nepal on 20 February 2016 inked and exchanged seven agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to boost the bilateral cooperation.
The agreements covered utilisation of Indian grant of 250 million US dollars to Nepal for post-earthquake reconstruction and another on improving of roads in Terai region.
These agreements were signed during the state visit of Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli to India. Oli is on a five day visit to India (19-24 February 2016), which was his first foreign visit after assuming office in October 2015.
The signed agreements/MoUs were
• MoU on utilization of 250 US dollars million Grant component of India’s Assistance package for Post-earthquake reconstruction assistance – the grant will be ustilised in four identified sectors and they are housing, health, education and cultural heritage.
i. In housing, 100 million US dollars would be utilised for construction of 50000 houses in 14 severely earthquake affected districts.
ii. 50 million US dollars each would be utilised in health, education and cultural heritage sectors in 31 earthquake affected districts of Nepal.
• MoU on strengthening of road infrastructure in the Terai area of Nepal - This MoU will enable speedy implementation of remaining work on 17 Roads in Package 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Terai Road Phase-I project, totaling 518 kms. Two roads in Package 1 totaling 87 kms have already been completed.
• MoU between Nepal Academy of Music and Drama and Sangeet Natak Academy - This MoU aims to enhance relations between India and Nepal in the field of performing arts through exchanges of experts, exponents, dancers, scholars and intellectuals.
• Letters of Exchange on Transit Routes - the routes include
i. Transit between Nepal and Bangladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor
ii. Operationalization of Vishakhapatnam Port
This Exchange of Letters between India and Nepal would result in simplification of modalities for traffic of goods between Nepal and Bangladesh while transiting through India, through the Kakarbhitta (Nepal) and Banglabandha (Bangladesh) corridor. This Exchange of Letters would provide for transit facilities for Nepal through the Vishakhapatnam port.
• Letters of Exchange on Rail Transport - the areas include
i. Rail transport to/from Vishakhapatnam
ii. Rail transit facility through Singhabad for Nepal’s Trade with and through Bangladesh
This Exchange of Letters would allow for rail transport to and from Vishakhapatnam to Nepal. This Exchange of Letters would help operationalise rail transit facility through Singabad in India for Nepal’s trade with and through Bangladesh.
• Inauguration of Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line [Initial supply of 80 MW, to be augmented to 200 MW by October 2016 and 600 MW by December 2017] - The Nepal portion of the 400 KV Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar transmission line is being implemented by Government of Nepal, under an LoC of 13.5 million US dollar.
80 MW power would flow immediately through this line, with an initial charge of 132 KV. Thereafter, it will be augmented to 200 MW in October 2016 at 220 KV, and then to 600 MW by December 2017 at 400 KV.
• Establishment of Eminent Persons Group - At the third meeting of the India–Nepal Joint Commission held at Kathmandu in July 2014, it was decided to establish an Eminent Persons Group (EPG).
The EPG comprises eight members with each country nominating four members, preferably a parliamentarian, a lawyer, an economist and a civil society activist.
The EPG has now been constituted. Its mandate would be to comprehensively review bilateral relations and recommend measures including institutional frameworks to further enhance bilateral ties.
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When: 20 February 2016