By Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Mar 15 (PTI) China today agreed to provide Rs 48 billion assistance to Nepal for development, including post-disaster recovery plan for the strategic Tatopani border point that was damaged in a devastating earthquake in 2015.
China and Nepal have been stepping up efforts to improve road connectivity while speeding up plans to build a railway line connecting to Nepals border after a Transit Trade Treaty was signed in 2016 with Beijing.
The Government of China has agreed to extend the assistance to Nepal for the projects on post-disaster recovery for Tatopani border point, the hospital reconstruction in Sindhupalchowk and reconstruction of Jiri Secondary School, the Nepals Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
The Tatopani border point, a major trade route between Nepal and China, has remained closed since the 2015 earthquake, that killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000, after it suffered massive damage.
Since Tatopani could not function, the Kerung port, also known as Rasuwagadhi, has been in operation for the cross border trading and tourism.
The project includes repairing of buildings, establishing protection measures to prevent from secondary disasters, including debris flow and landslide, and improving trade clearance capabilities.
The Chinese government has pledged to provide Nepalese Rupees 48 billion in grants for the purpose and an agreement was signed was signed today, the Ministry said in a statement.
Finance Secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikari and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yu Hong signed the agreements on behalf of the government of Nepal and the Chinese governments.
"I am confident that the economic cooperation between Nepal and China will help especially to overcome our infrastructure bottleneck and improve connectivity," Adhikari said.
"The Chinese government has been making positive effort to reopen the Tatopani port. We will carry out work of disaster treatment and road repair on the Chinese side. Considering the construction of border inspection station, both the countries have been discussing reconstruction of the border bridge," Yu was quoted as saying by Chinas state-run Xinhua news agency.
For the resumption of the border point, the budget would be used for the renovation of the building and establishment of protection measures, so that trade clearance capabilities would be improved.
In Sindhupalchowk, a middle-sized hospital equipped with facilities like 39 beds capacity would be constructed and the school reconstruction is aimed at recovering and improving school facilities and functions.
Post earthquake, China had pledged to help Nepal with post-disaster reconstruction in five areas - infrastructure, livelihood recovery in hilly regions, cultural heritage renovation, capacity building of disaster prevention and health.
Till now, 22 China-Aid projects have been already initiated and are in the process of implementation. PTI SBP AMS AKJ AMS