KATHMANDU, Feb 14: Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli Thursday inaugurated the Nepal Shipping Office, based at Ekantakuna, Lalitpur, with a view to study and explore the development of inland waterways.
The office came into operation as per the cabinet decision on January 13, also approving a 16-member staffs headed by under-secretary under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.
PM Oli, during his state visit to India in April last year, had signed an agreement to increase connectivity between Nepal and India through inland waterways for the movement of cargo, within the framework of trade and transit arrangements, providing additional access to sea to Nepal.
“The establishment of the office has opened the door for further study and exploration on developing inland waterways in the country,” said PM Oli after inaugurating the office.
Stating that Nepal was not a fully landlocked country as there was possibility of inland waterways in many rivers in the country, he expressed the belief that waterway transportation would come into operation earlier than railway service.
The Prime Minister also suggested engineers to manufacture ships as per the depth and width of rivers. Referring to the feasibility study for operation of ship conducted way back in 1970, the Prime Minister shared information that he had discussed about the possibility of operation of ship and Kathmandu-Raxaul railway service during his India visit last year. The two countries had also agreed to expand rail linkages connecting Raxaul in India to Kathmandu.
Prime Minister Oli said that a new dimension has been added to the ‘connectivity’ with India, adding that we are now going to be linked with India through inland waterways and railways.
The Indian government has began work on a 300-kilometer long inland waterway from Gandaki river at Triveni Nepal to India’s Ganga river near Hajipur in Bihar. The inland waterways, which is likely to be completed by 2030, is said to have potential to move 11.6 million tons of cargo in the next five years via river.