Kathmandu: Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) and North East Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) discussed various aspects of trade and connectivity between Nepal and India on Thursday. The discussion program, which took place at NICCI Secretariat, Kathmandu, was chaired by Shreejana Rana, President of NICCI.
Rana informed the Indian team that NICCI facilitated organizing the second Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting of Nepal and India on June 6, 2018 where the government as well as the private sector stakeholders were present from both the countries and discussed the points on leave travel concession, overland travel issues such as air connectivity and road connectivity, joint promotion of tourism between Nepal and India among others. According to Rana, NICCI has worked on developing a Coffee Table Book on Religious Circuits for tourism promotion of both India and Nepal.
While talking about prospects, opportunities and challenges in trade in various sectors, she said that Nepal has huge potential in hydropower projects, infrastructure, SMEs and agriculture. Rajan Sharma, Convener of the Trade and Transit Committee of NICCI, highlighted the issues related to Trade and Transit. “The custodian right of Nepali goods is in the hands of the Indian clearing agents. This is a big problem as the legal provisions shift the liability to the clearing agent and therefore disputes arise as the clearing agent cannot claim money from importers of Nepal and can always shift the problem,” said Sharma. He also raised the issue of the eclectic cargo tracking system and the problem caused by it. “The electronic cargo tracking system between India and Nepal is of no use and involves at least INR 3400 per container. This is too expensive and Nepalese importers should not be made to pay such charges for tracking the transit cargo within Indian territory.” Sharma said.
Batu Lamichhane, Convener of Energy Committee, informed that Nepal generated 3339 MW of energy during the wet season in 2022 of which 1205 MW was surplus energy but Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) could export only 364 MW to India. “By next decade, Nepal aims to produce more than 10,000 MW power. India has been fulfilling 50 percent demand of power generated through coal based energy. If electricity from Nepal could be supplied it could help replace coal based power in India,” said Lamichhane. “There are huge prospects in the power sector and there are big opportunities for the Indian investors to come and invest in hydropower projects in Nepal,” he said.
A number of NEDFi officials including Chairman and Managing Director PVSLN Murty, Executive Director SK Baruha, Senior Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University Mahendra P Lama among others participated in the meeting.