A preliminary list of projects have been proposed under Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI), reports My Republica. These projects include railway, transmission line, and drinking water plans. The BRI is China’s plan to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa by reconstructing the Silk Road.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) has identified six north-south road projects connecting both India and China. These six roads are Hilsa of Humla to Jamunaha of Banke, Kora La of Mustang to Bhairahawa (310 km), Kodari to Birgunj (390 km), Lapcha of Dolakha to Bhiththamod of Mahottari (301 km), Kerung to Thori (190 km), and Kimathanka to Biratnagar (about 300 km).
Spokesperson of MoPIT, Rajendra Raj Sharma, said that these identified roads were possible projects for utilizing the BRI investments received from China. He added that the Chinese technicians, who were in Nepal for the site visit of proposed Kerung-Kathmandu railway two weeks ago, had also shown interest in these six roads.
After the Indian blockade two years ago, these roads became a government priority. These roads will allow Nepal to shift it’s over dependency on India for trade. They will also let Nepal become a bridge between India and China.
Finance secretary and chief of Project Development and Coordination Committee for BRI, Shankar Prasad Adhikari gave a five-day deadline to the ministries to come up with possible projects for the BRI on November 25.
In accordance to the given deadline, Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation recommended building a rainwater reservoir of Mahadevkhola at Dharmasthali. It also gave the idea of using underground water of Chandragiri hills for a water supply contingency plan for Kathmandu.
Likewise, the Ministry of Energy recommended the Kerung-Rasuwagadhi-Galchhi cross-border transmission line of 400 KVA. This is to be built with the soft loan of BRI. This project will allow Nepal to trade electricity with China. Currently, Nepal is only importing electricity from cross-border transmission lines from India.
These projects are in preliminary selection. Finance Secretary Adhikari will have meetings to discuss and pick the best projects among the proposed projects. Then the final list of projects will be proposed to BRI for further processing.
The selected projects will be sent for feasibility study and preparing detailed project report for implementing the projects.
The Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road concept refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia with Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe.